What to do When Selling a Home With Negative Equity

negative equity

When your home value falls below the amount you still owe on your mortgage, this is considered negative equity—or an underwater mortgage. There are many reasons a home can fall into negative equity, including damages to the property, a declining real estate market, or a high loan-to-value ratio. In many cases, negative equity is simply a byproduct of uncontrollable circumstances. But what happens when you need to sell your home? Here are several options to consider when selling a home with negative equity.

Understanding Home Equity

Home equity is the portion of your home’s value that you own outright. At the time of purchase, your amount of positive equity in your house is the amount of your down payment—typically around 20%. Your equity fluctuates, however, as you make mortgage payments and as the value of your home increases or decreases. The moment your home value drops below the amount you owe on your mortgage, you are in negative equity. 

One of the most common causes of negative equity is a shift in the housing market and a sudden decrease in home values. This is what happened in the market crash of the past decade, resulting in more than 11 million homeowners—nearly 25% of mortgaged homes—with negative equity at its peak. 

According to the latest statistics from CoreLogic, approximately 2 million homeowners—or 3.7% of all mortgaged properties—were experiencing negative equity at the end of 2019. While this is a positive trend from previous years, it still means that many homeowners are underwater on their loans and looking for the best ways to sell their negative equity homes. 

Options for Selling Negative Equity Homes

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development describes negative equity as having multiple consequences for both homeowners and the surrounding community. Foreclosures are a significant byproduct of homes falling into negative equity. As homeowners find themselves trapped in homes they can no longer afford, they choose to walk away and let the home fall into foreclosure. 

This has a negative impact on a homeowner’s credit—and stays on your credit report for 7 years—but it also impacts the community. Other home values begin to drop as neighboring houses fall into foreclosure. 

But there are options other than foreclosure when you find yourself with negative equity. These are some of the most common ways to sell your home when you owe more than your home’s value. 

Pay the Remaining Mortgage

By far the simplest option for selling a home with negative equity is to get as much as possible from your home sale and pay the remaining mortgage yourself. If you owe $200,000 on your home loan and sell your house for $175,000, you can pay the remaining $25,000 at the time of closing. While this is the most expeditious way to sell a home with negative equity, it is not always a practical solution for homeowners. If you are experiencing the burden of negative home equity, it may also be an unreasonable financial burden to pay off your existing home loan. If that is the case, there are other options for selling your home. 

Short Sale

If your home value has dropped below the amount you owe, and you are far enough behind on mortgage payments that you are unable to catch up, some lenders will agree to a short sale. With a short sale, the lender is willing to accept less for the home than your remaining mortgage balance. Lenders opt for short sales when they wish to avoid the process of foreclosure and feel that they can possibly recover more of the loan than they would through other methods. 

The first step to a short sale is to speak with your lender and work out a short sale agreement. The process can often take longer than a traditional sale, and ultimately it is the lender—not the seller—who approves or denies offers on the home. For many homeowners trying to sell a home with negative equity, short sales are a desirable alternative to foreclosure. It is important to note, however, that once completed, a short sale can remain on your credit report for up to four years. 

Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure

Another option for selling a home with negative equity is to not sell it all, but rather sign the deed over to the lender. Much like a short sale, this option requires the express involvement of the lender and is often only considered if there are no other liens on your property. 

This course of action will negatively impact your credit score in the same manner as a short sale but is also often considered a better alternative to foreclosure. If the bank does agree to accept your deed in lieu of foreclosure, it is important to understand your rights as well as the rights of your lender. Some states have protections in place that prevent lenders from pursuing the loan deficiency—the difference between the home value and the amount you owe—after a deed in lieu of foreclosure, but not all. As you work with your lender to find the best solution for your situation, be prepared to work out an agreement in which you are forgiven the loan deficiency regardless of how much the home is worth. 

Navigating Negative Equity

Negative equity is not always something a homeowner can control, particularly when the real estate market fluctuates unexpectedly. Managing the sale of a negative equity home can be challenging, but accessing support from a real estate agent can help you navigate your options.

If selling your home is a necessary step, understanding the current real estate market can also help you decide which solution is right for you. ProspectNow offers a comprehensive view of the housing market and predictive analytics to help sellers make better real estate decisions regardless of negative equity.

Property Owner Search: How to Go Beyond What’s Public

Property Owner

Property ownership is a matter of public record. Visit your local county assessor’s office—or in some cases, their records are now online—and you should be able to track down a property owner’s name using a parcel number or street address. When it comes to pursuing real estate leads, however, especially commercial real estate opportunities, the limited details of public records aren’t always enough. In these cases, professionals depend on other resources to conduct a property owner search that goes beyond what’s public. 

Performing a Public Property Owner Search

Why are public property ownership records less than helpful? With regard to commercial real estate, especially, public records are often lacking the pertinent ownership contact details. 

Knowing how to search for public records, however, is still important. 

If you are pursuing real estate opportunities that are local to you, the best place to start searching for public records is through the county assessor’s office. In the case of property deeds, the information is often located with the county recorder. For real estate opportunities beyond your local county or city, resources such as NETRonline.com provide a nationwide directory for county offices that keep public records.

Whether your county offers an online database or you have to go into the assessor’s office, you will need either the address, parcel number, or owner’s name for the property you wish to search for. 

Let’s say you search by street address, you should be able to discover some, if not all, of the following information:

  • Taxpayer/Owner’s name or business name
  • Mailing address
  • Assessed value and taxable of the property
  • Parcel Number
  • Property type (commercial or residential)
  • Date property was last assessed

While some of these details are useful for real estate professionals—owner name and mailing address, for instance—the public records are lacking some details essential to moving your business forward. 

In the case of CRE opportunities, most commercial properties will be in the name of the corporation or LLC, and not the owner or key decision-maker. Without knowing who makes decisions for repairs, investments, or sales opportunities, it can be difficult to turn that information into a productive lead. 

Taking Your Property Owner Search Beyond Public Records

Generating new CRE and residential leads begins with having the right resources to go beyond public ownership records. 

ProspectNow allows you to dive deeper into property owner details in order to maximize your time and find more qualified leads—whether you are a broker, lender, investor, or you provide building maintenance services. 

The ProspectNow database includes information on nearly 40 million commercial real estate properties, both on and off the market. This means you can search millions of properties to find details that include:

  • Name of owner or key decision-maker
  • Owner’s email, phone number, and mailing address. 
  • Contact details for LLC managing members
  • Purchase and tax history of the property
  • Ownership portfolio for LLCs

What makes this resource stand out is the use of predictive analytics to discover off-market properties that are likely to sell. CRE professionals can pursue leads that are still off-market but trending toward the need to sell, whether due to market predictions, financial purposes, or both. 

Instead of searching through public records one name or address at a time, ProspectNow makes it easy to access the information you need to pursue CRE opportunities both near and far. The database is searchable by property type, size, owner, location, and even whether or not it is in preforeclosure. 

Speed Up Your Search

Prospecting new leads is a critical part of your role in commercial real estate. While networking and word of mouth play a significant part in finding new clients, conducting a property owner search allows you to discover unique off-market real estate opportunities. 

The traditional public records search is a great way to find the details of one or two properties that you are pursuing. The tax assessor or county recorder, however, will lack the necessary information you need to contact key decision-makers and owners.

By utilizing the tools available through ProspectNow, you can speed up your property owner search and find information that goes well beyond the details available in public records. 

Discover new, motivated leads through our database of properties, LLCs, and businesses. Utilize predictive analytics for CRE and residential real estate and explore a world of off-market real estate potential. Ready to see how it works? Sign up for a free 3-day trial and get started with your detailed property owner search today.

10 States With the Lowest Property Taxes

Property Tax

If you are in the market for a new home, then you might want to consider the amount of property taxes you will need to pay. When calculating how much you can afford to buy, you’ll need to factor in property taxes along with the mortgage, utilities, insurance, and other costs of homeownership. Where you settle down impacts the amount of property taxes you will owe.

What Are Property Taxes?

Property taxes are annual taxes levied by local governments on your land and buildings. Municipalities calculate taxes by multiplying the applicable local tax rate by the assessed value of your property. The appraised property value typically is less than the market value and depends on the neighborhood, structures on the property, and other factors.

For most cities and counties, property taxes are the primary source of revenue for local government, funding schools, city employee salaries, emergency services, infrastructure projects, and more. States typically provide parameters for setting tax rates, but localities can set their own rates within those parameters. Each locality differs in size and in the services provided, each jurisdiction has different needs and different property types, so tax rates vary greatly across the country, within states, and even within counties or cities.

States With the Lowest Property Taxes

Below is a list of the 10 states (plus the District of Columbia) with the lowest effective tax rates. The effective tax rate used here is an average calculation of the total actual property taxes paid for calendar year 2018 as a percentage of the estimated total value of all owner-occupied homes in the state. Property taxes due depending in large part on the value of the real estate, so even when a state has a low tax rate, like Hawaii, homeowners still might have a high tax bill if their home value is also high. Additionally, some areas of the state might have significantly higher or lower property taxes.

Property tax rates fluctuate from year to year, so the top 10 shifts annually. However, for the past several years, the states of Hawaii, Alabama, and Louisiana have remained the states with the three lowest effective property tax rates.

(Note that the median home values are from the Zillow Home Value Index for December 2019.)

  1. Hawaii (0.30 percent effective property tax rate; $638,007 median home value)
  2. Alabama (0.40 percent; $140,030)
  3. Louisiana (0.52 percent; $167,376)
  4. Wyoming (0.55 percent; $252,310)
  5. West Virginia (0.55 percent; $107,789)
  6. South Carolina (0.56 percent; $187,337)
  7. Colorado (0.56 percent; $398,753)
  8. Delaware(0.58 percent; $254,717)
  9. District of Columbia (0.59 percent; $628,914)
  10. Utah (0.62 percent; $350,841)
  11. Arkansas (0.64 percent; $128,777)

Property Tax Exemptions

Some locations allow for certain property tax exemptions based on either the homeowner’s status or certain characteristics of the property. For example, partial exemptions exist in some locations for properties with certain renewable energy systems, such as solar panels, installed. More than a dozen states offer exemptions for elderly homeowners and most offer tax relief for disabled military veterans. Exemptions typically only apply for homestead properties, which means the real estate is owner-occupied as a primary residence.

4 Tips For Targeting Just Listed Prospects

Just Listed

It’s not easy to land a sale, especially when it comes to property. As a professional, it is important that you not only know the real estate market, but also know the services that you are pitching to potential property sellers so that you can convince them to do business with you.

How To Build Your List Of Prospects Fast

The selling process has greatly accelerated thanks to today’s technology, with new innovations and concepts making finding prospects easier than ever before. Here are four sound tips for how to target prospects quickly.

1. Get A Good Database Provider

There are a number of database providers for you to choose from at the comfort of your mouse and keyboard, many of which offer contact information for various property owners for homes, businesses, and plots of land. These providers can also give you company financial data and statistics, in addition to companies they have worked with in the past and present. These factors can give you an indication of what sort of tenant these property owners work with, what they specialize in, and more. It is important to choose an owner that gives you the best chance of getting a deal done, not just the biggest and brightest in the database.

2. Get Focused On A Few Niches

Specialists who are tasked to pull prospect data will typically start by choosing a target niche owner, such as a landowner or commercial building owner. When companies narrow down their focus this way, the outbound collateral will be the same across all companies that fit this niche. In turn, this leads to more success in your outreach project. These property owners are likely waiting for the right people to do business with, so you will need to help them understand that you are contacting them to help them.

3. Identify The Most “Fit” Companies

As niches are chosen, you can narrow down your list of property owners by aspects such as earnings, budget, and location. When you only go after companies that meet your buyer persona, you can easily find the best company among the candidates you are considering. The company, in particular, you would like from here is one with challenges that can be overcome thanks to your business, as these observations are to be discussed by the company’s personnel when you take the step of contacting them. If a company doesn’t have difficulties that yours can resolve, do not bother with them if you are no use to them.

4. Discover More Contacts.

One way to discover more contacts is through browsing a website like LinkedIn. By looking at the individual’s profile on LinkedIn, you can verify that they still assume the role that the data has previously suggested. You can also expand your network on LinkedIn by forming new relationships with other people you might want to do business with in the future, who may happen to own property that they are looking to sell. You can easily find new prospects this way that might not appear in a database.

Conclusion

Your database is the most important part of reaching out to the right property owner. Looking for the right owners, who may also be looking for the right buyers or clients, is important so that you can close the best deal you want in the least amount of time possible.

ProspectNow is the ultimate real estate prospecting tool that can allow you to find owners looking to sell or refinance, find property owners, and much more. Give us a call today for more details on ProspectNow and its price tiers.

How to Find a Real Estate Agent

Real Estate Agent

Buying and selling real estate is a truly worthwhile investment—one that is made easier when partnered with the knowledge and experience of a real estate agent. From commercial property ventures to buying your very first home, there are local agents with the expertise to help you negotiate and close on a great purchase. Many agents, however, specialize in very specific areas of real estate and finding the right one for you and your property goals can be challenging. To help you on your path to real estate success, we’ve outlined our best practices on how to find a local real estate agent who is the perfect match for your next investment.

Qualities to Look For in a Real Estate Agent

Before you begin your search, it helps to understand what exactly you need from your real estate agent. This applies to both your property investment goals and the values and practices you hope to uphold in your next purchase or home sale. 

For example, if you are ready to buy that luxury home in your favorite high-end neighborhood, finding a local agent with experience both buying and selling luxury homes in that neighborhood will be an incredible advantage. That hyper-local expertise, however, isn’t the only factor to consider when choosing an agent. 

Your real estate agent is your representative in your home purchase or sale. Just like you would look for specific qualities in a business partner, it is important to know that your real estate agent is someone you can trust to represent you and your interests. 

In an interview with fourteen members of the Forbes Real Estate Council, agents shared the different qualities that they recommend people consider when looking for the right broker for their real estate opportunity. Their advice? Find an agent you can trust, who has your best interests at heart, can mitigate risk, has a clear track record, and who is passionate about the market you wish to enter. Other agents cited core values, honesty, and negotiation techniques as important qualities to consider when looking for an agent. 

Once you have identified the most important qualities in an agent—from personal values to market expertise—it’s time to start your search. 

Online and Offline Research

Research is the first tool in your arsenal when finding a real estate agent. A simple Google search is likely to bring up a long list of agents and brokerages in your area. By specifying the type of real estate that interests you, it is possible to fine-tune your search and hone in on the agents who know that area of real estate. 

Research both online and in local papers, magazines, and notice boards is one step you may have to return to again and again. As new agents are added to your list, it will benefit you to research their real estate experience, track record, and what other customers are saying about them. 

In fact, as you go through the process of identifying and researching local agents, be sure to ask a lot of questions. What is their area of expertise? What do others say about working with them? How long have they been an agent? How well do they know the area (city, county, or neighborhood) where you wish to purchase or sell? 

Keeping these questions at the forefront of your mind while you research will help you narrow down your search to only the most qualified agents. 

Pay Attention to Local Ads

Real estate advertisements are everywhere, and now that you are on the search for an agent, you’re likely to start noticing them more than ever. From billboards on the side of the road to local TV commercials, the ads and information about local real estate agents are abundant. You may even notice real estate ads at your local movie theater if you happen to be there before the start of the previews. 

If starting your search with research feels overwhelming, then we recommend paying attention to the various local spots where agents are advertised. From there, you can make a list of the local brokerages and individual agents and go back to your search engine to discover more about each agent. 

Visit Open Houses

For those of us who prefer to do our research face-to-face, one great way to look for agents is by visiting open houses. Agents abound at open houses, both the listing agent—who is running the open house—and buyer’s agents who are there on behalf of clients. 

An open house in your desired neighborhood can be particularly beneficial as you are likely to meet multiple real estate agents who have experience buying and selling in that neighborhood. As you look for open houses to visit, make sure to have your list of questions on hand so you can utilize the opportunity to get to know the agents and narrow your list of potential candidates.

Ask for Referrals

In today’s digital world, word of mouth is still an effective tool for finding a great product, restaurant, venue, and in this case, a great real estate agent. Friends and family who have bought or sold houses in the area will be more than happy to give you a referral for their agent. 

Getting referrals can be challenging if you are relocating to a new city or state. If you don’t have friends or family in the area who can give a referral, consider asking your new co-workers or business partners. Those who had a positive experience will be more likely to refer you to their real estate agent the moment they find out you are interested in buying a new home.

Cutting-edge Online Platforms 

When it comes to finding the perfect agent, the above steps take a huge investment of time and energy. But what if the process could be simplified?

Much like the tools offered by ProspectNow provide the perfect solution for discovering which properties are available for purchase—or even better, which ones are likely to sell—the matching technology of LemonBrew identifies which agents carry the knowledge and expertise that will help you close your next real estate deal. 

Cutting-edge analytics reduces the time it takes to find the most qualified agent and get started locating your perfect home. The process is simple: basic questions help LemonBrew understand your real estate goals, location, and financing and the matching technology does the rest. Rather than spending hours researching local agents, you get matched with agents who fit the exact criteria you’re looking for. After interviewing a few of your favorite candidates, you choose the most qualified for the job. As a bonus, once you find the perfect home, you receive a rebate that goes toward closing costs. 

Meet LemonBrew

LemonBrew is a leading real estate platform that matches home buyers and sellers with passionate and attentive real estate agents while matching agents with exclusive and qualified leads. Simplify your real estate process by using a LemonBrew agent who has the hyper-local expertise you’re looking for.

Is Apto the Right CRM for Your Commercial Real Estate Agency? (Review)

Apto

Apto is a customer relationship management (CRM) app made for commercial real estate agents. The app’s developers have spent a lot of money developing its features and marketing to real estate brokers. Having access to a lot of capital doesn’t mean that Apto is the right option for you, though. Make sure you learn about the CRM before you make any commitments.

Apto’s Features and Pricing

Apto offers a long list of features that commercial real estate brokers might find useful. Getting the most out of Apto often means that you have to spend hours learning about the app’s more obscure features.

The basic features, however, are fairly intuitive for agents who have previous CRM experience.

Apto Features

Apto gives you a suite of features that let you:

  • Create strategic lists that you can filter by market, loan maturity, and lease expiration.
  • Build custom dashboards for tracking performance, scheduling meetings, and paying commissions.
  • See past interactions with potential clients to help you plan future engagements.

Pricing

Apto has two membership options, Basic and Pro. The Basic plan costs $129 per user per month. By choosing the Basic option, you gain access to the CRM, onboarding services, and support with a response time under 48 hours.

A Pro membership costs $149 per user per month. The Pro plan gives you access to all of Apto’s features and promises a support response time under 24 hours.

Some Apto users complain that the CRM does not follow its promised response times. Read the review “Decent Product With Terrible Customer Service” below to learn more about one user’s experience.

Pros and Cons of Using Apto

Apto’s pros and cons will vary depending on what you expect from the app. A consensus from users shows the following advantages and disadvantages.

Apto Advantages

  • Makes it easy to organize contacts.
  • Tracks engagements with existing and potential clients.
  • Integrates with most commercial real estate databases.

Apto Disadvantages

  • Clunky interface that takes time to learn.
  • Requires input from all agents to track interactions accurately.
  • Slow response times from customer support.
  • Some features have steep learning curves that will prevent agents from using them.

What Apto Users Say About the CRM App

Learning what Apto users say about the CRM app will help you make an informed decision. The following reviews come from real Apto users who posted their comments on Capterra, G2, and Trustpilot.

Great if Your Whole Team Commits to Using It

Kevin D., Vice President of Office Services at a commercial real estate agency, writes that Apto “has been helpful to organize our clients and track communication.” His review on Capterra also points out that Apto’s interface is a bit clunky and that “if your team doesn’t fully commit, it’s hard to see the full results of your efforts.” Without full engagement from your team, Apto could cause more problems than it solves.

Decent Product With Terrible Customer Service

On the G2 site, an enterprise Apto user offers a different perspective. This reviewer likes that Apto lets users control how much detail they get. On the other hand, they complain that Apto has terrible customer service. Specifically, “what should be a 10-minute call takes a week to resolve. It’s insane.” The user must have had a challenging experience.

Useful, But Not Intuitive

Litsa Milonas, a reviewer on Trustpilot, says that Apto “is not very intuitive, and some of the most confusing parts of it are locked for customization.” Despite frustrations, Milonas writes that her company will continue using Apto “since we’ve invested a considerable amount of time and money into it.” She hopes that support will improve to meet her needs.

Alternatives to Apto

Plenty of software companies develop CRM tools designed to meet the needs of commercial real estate brokers. Some of the most popular alternatives to Apto include:

  • ClientLook, a commercial real estate CRM that lets users outsource tasks like scheduling, data entry, and updating contact info.
  • amoCRM, a low-cost messenger-based sales CRM designed for all companies, not just real estate brokers.
  • Rethink, a CRM that gives you access to property listings and prospect management tools.
  • AscendixRE, a CRM developed for lease brokers involved in leases, commercial mortgages, retail space, and property management.

Close More Deals With Help From ProspectNow

If you find that most real estate CRMs lack the features you want or charge excessive fees, use ProspectNow’s free trial to discover an option that will help you close more deals.

ProspectNow has databases for commercial and residential real estate, so it doesn’t force you to focus on one revenue stream. The CRM gives you access to 100 million residential properties, 40 million commercial properties, contact information for property owners, and an interface that lets you integrate with your favorite apps. Get started today so you can access the tools you need to close more deals and make more money in real estate.

 

What to Look for in Software To Grow Your Property Management Business

Property Management Software

So, you’ve finally decided to upgrade your property management platform. Smart move! But, how do you proceed? Where should you start and what features do you look for?

To answer these and other questions, we’ve compiled a handy procedural guide to help you settle on the ideal platform for all your business needs. 

We’ll take you through the essential features and pricing options. Just for kicks, we’ll throw in a checklist that will help as you narrow down all the options. 

So, without further ado, let’s jump right on in! 

1. Leverage Your Network

Other property managers have probably been through your current ordeal. Therefore, a good place to start is leveraging your list of industry contacts by asking them what property management software they use. You can also ask them to recommend any other alternatives. 

Feel free to ask questions like:

  • What property management software they use 
  • What’s to like or hate about the software?
  • Is the platform user-friendly?
  • What impact has the software had on your business?

Answers to such questions will help you gravitate towards the best property management platform. You’ll also learn about the benefits and drawbacks of each platform. Please keep in mind that everyone’s business needs vary. There’s no one size fits all option. 

2. Identify Your Business’ Needs

Choosing a property management software that meets all your business needs is crucial as you make this transition. What problems do you aim to solve with these upgrades? What matters the most in your current business set up?

Let’s say there are a bunch of repetitive tasks that waste your team’s valuable time. You can bring in a platform with features that automate such tasks. This will maximize efficiency and reduce the workload. 

You may also be struggling to find leads that can help you get a jump on the competition. A software that has built-in predictive analytics can hand you the advantage. You’ll be able to find properties that are not yet on the market.  

3. Compare Systems and Features

Here is a list of essential features that will help you narrow down the search. You can use it to compare various property management software systems. 

Direct Mail

The software delivers customized emails to selected property owners at the touch of a button. 

LLC Database

It can help you find the contact details for managing members of corporations in the U.S. 

Predictive Analytics

This helps you find contact information for properties that may be off the market but are predicted to go on sale. 

Owner Contact Info

The software should also help you find detailed information for any property owner. Such information includes email addresses, phone numbers, and mailing addresses. 

Digital Marketing 

A software that has advanced IP targeting will also come in handy. It will allow you to display your ads on specific addresses. 

API/Download 

A good software will also allow you to integrate its combined and collected database into your system. 

Compatible mobile app 

A software with a compatible iOS or Android app will maximize your mobility and allow you to carry your whole database even to the field. 

4. Price Your Options

With the above checklist, it’s time to narrow down your list of software based on price. You can prioritize software choices based on the features you prefer rather than the price point. Such a measure will help you settle on a property management software that meets all your needs. 

When considering various pricing options you should ask yourself: 

  • Does the software have an annual or monthly subscription fee or do you have to make a one-off payment? What’s the cost?
  • Is there a setup fee?
  • Do you have to make a contractual agreement? If so, do you have to pay an exit fee?  
  • Do you have to pay more for add-on features? 

The software can also provide additional cost-cutting measures. For example, you may be spending a lot on online marketing services. You can reduce such costs by using software with integrated digital marketing Features.

5. Take Each Option for a Spin

Once you’ve narrowed down the list of contenders it’s time to take them for a spin. Try the demo version for each software. Take advantage of any free resources offered by the software like tutorials, how-to blogs, and user guides. 

Take a look at the software’s branding and social media presence to get a hint of how they do business. Look at their website or blog to see how often they release updates and their product support practices. Customer reviews can also help you understand what current users have to say about the software.  

6. What Is Migration Like?

At this point, you’ve probably narrowed down your list of contenders to a few software systems. You can do a trial migration to ensure all your data is transferred from your system onto the platform. 

A trial run will help you see how long the migration will take. You can take advantage of this opportunity to clean up your current database for a fresh start after you migrate. Besides, this period will allow you to understand the steps you need to align your catalog into a fresh format. The migrated data is also handy for test integration and team training.  

Wrapping Up

These six steps will help you settle on the best property management software. So please ensure to keep them at hand so you can get a software that matches all your needs. Also, remember to prioritize the features over the price. 

Are you looking forward to upgrading your software? PropertyNow is a next-level cloud property management software. You can access it from anywhere and whenever you like.

Our platform’s features give you access to LLC databases, owner contact info, and our vast database. It also features predictive analytics, Direct mail and IP targeting digital marketing. We’ll give you all you need to manage your properties. Sign up for a free trial today to get started.

 

Buy Or Rent: Which Is Better?

buy or rent

Buying a home is one of the greatest decisions one can make. Many buyers find it challenging since it changes many aspects of their lives. On average, people can change their minds about such decisions every 5 – 7 years. Thus, making the right choice comes as the best way to avoid suffering from buyer’s remorse. 

Most buyers still worry if buying a home is the right option even after considering all the information. Purchasing a home has many advantages for some. Yet, for others, the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages. Renting can be a better choice for such individuals. The best way to know if you should rent or buy a home is to look at your situation. Such a measure will allow you to make the right decision.

Here are a few things to consider that will help you settle on the right choice. 

Advantages of Renting

Renting is an ideal option for those in need of less responsibility and more flexibility. It doesn’t put a strain on your savings or introduce changes to your current lifestyle. It’s also a good option especially if you travel a lot and have to find a new place to live when you move. 

Renting also allows you to find a home in expensive markets without having to save for years. You are not as tied to rental property as you would be to a long-term property. This means you also bare fewer maintenance and insurance costs. Renters insurance costs less than homeowners insurance which is a testament to this fact. 

Property taxes in some states are higher than 2 percent. For instance, in New Jersey, a $250,000 home is subject to a 2.38% tax rate. This means you’d be liable to make annual tax payments of $5,950. The good news is that many states don’t have such punitive tax regimes. But the more your home costs the higher your property tax rate. As a home renter, you don’t have such worries. 

Things to Know Before Renting a Home

Finding a rental property that’s the right size for your family is one of the most important aspects. Most renters want homes with proximity to things like schools, public transport, and stores as well as other amenities and infrastructure. 

Here are a few things to go over with a potential landlord before signing that lease agreement.  

Your credit history

Your credit history can present a problem when you try to rent a home. Most agencies recommend submitting a credit report letter together with your rental application. If your credit report doesn’t reflect issues like late payments, debts, bankruptcies and other financial issues, you’re good to go!  

Rental costs and due dates

Before signing any lease agreements, determine if the monthly cost is within budget. Make Inquiries about the cost of the security deposit (if there is one). Discuss acceptable payment methods for the monthly rent and the deadlines for making such payments.  

Maintenance services

Pest control, plumbing, and broken appliances often cause a lot of undue stress to renters. Consult your potential landlord on the maintenance services he/she will provide. Also, establish how long it would take them to handle such maintenance requests  

Utility costs 

Electric, gas and water bills are utility costs you have to take into account when renting a home. Determine if you will pay separate utility bills if they are part of your rent or the landlord will pay a part of it. 

Availability of parking space

Inquire if you will need to pay for a parking permit or if it’s part of your monthly rent. It’s also important to establish if the parking is close to your rental home and if your guests also have to pay. 

The property owner’s pet policy 

Some rental properties have policies that prohibit pets or limit the number you can keep. If you have a pet or plan to keep one, discuss this with your potential landlord. 

Advantages of Buying

Buying a home is cheaper than renting when you look at the long-term costs. Sure, you have to pay a lot upfront and there’s a closing cost. But, after that, the monthly payment plans are actually lower than rental costs. Mortgage rates are currently at their lowest. This makes the cost of buying a home less than renting in 58 percent of the US property market

Accounting costs and property taxes are tax-deductible. Meaning interest paid on mortgages attracts the largest tax-deduction. Such an exemption allows you to keep more of your hard-earned money. With homeownership, you have the freedom to renovate your home. Your privacy is also more enhanced when compared to a rental home. 

A home is also an asset that increases your financial stability. It will appreciate and your kids can have something to look forward to inheriting. The best thing about buying a home is, it’s yours. You aren’t kicked out when you fail to pay the rent or when the landlord opts out of your current lease agreement.  

Things to Consider When Buying a Home

Buying a home is one of the most significant financial decisions you will make in life. When you opt to buy a house, you should consider how it would change your financial situation as well as present and future lifestyle. 

Here are a few factors to consider before making that purchase. 

Location

A great location ensures your home remains a viable asset no matter the state of the real estate market. You can always fix-up an ugly home but there’s little you can do for a torn down neighborhood. Finding a home near your work, social amenities and schools will spare you from some transportation costs. 

Price

Buying a home is a serious financial commitment. There are huge upfront costs and subsequent monthly payments. So ensure that you are able to meet such obligations before committing to such a purchase.  

Infrastructure 

Access to basic infrastructures like roadways, cell towers, street lighting, and adequate drainage is vital. Before buying a home, please consider its accessibility to such infrastructure. 

Size of the house

Remember that this will be your house, so it has to fit all your stuff and accommodate all your family. Ensure it has an appropriate number of bathrooms and bedrooms. The kitchen layout is also another important consideration. If you have a pet, you should go for a home that sits on a lot that can accommodate your furry pal’s need for outdoor activity.  

Inspection

The cost of repairs and renovations can hike up the closing cost. As such, conducting a home inspection is vital. Most real estate agents are cunning and will stage a home and make it look flawless. Check for any renovations and repairs before signing that dotted line. 

Should I Buy Or Rent?

Even after considering all the above factors, most people still wonder if it makes more sense to buy a home or rent. One way of eliminating such doubts is consulting a rent vs. buy calculator. Such a tool will show you the total cost over time. It also calculates the value you will receive if you sell your home in the future. 

In the end, buying or renting is a subjective choice. Making this choice entails understanding your financial situation and lifestyle. The property market is also a determinant factor. It makes more sense to buy or rent in certain states and neighborhoods. Thus, before you commit to either choice take some time to shop around. Do proper consultations and inspections to avoid any future disappointments.   

At ProspectNow, our core commitment is ensuring that our clients get amazing homes at the right cost. Are you still wondering whether to buy or rent a home? Contact us today to get a deal that’ll fit your finances and needs.

 

The importance of accurate city data

city data

It can be very easy to forget to keep data on your city up to date, though there is so much to keep track of. Many cities have populations and other statistics that change over the years, but the people in charge fail to keep these statistics current and fresh.

Why Outdated City Data Is Not Recommended

Researchers rely on the most accurate and current statistics possible. If they follow through on data that is years old, there may experience things about the city that they certainly wouldn’t expect, such as changes in the city for the worse or decreases in its population.

Reasons To Keep City Data Up To Date:

Some city officials might not find updating their city’s data to be important, even if their city or town is rather small in size, but it is. Not only is it beneficial to you and your city, but to others who are also relying on such data for their own observations. Here are three reasons to keep your city’s data accurate:

Researchers Always Want The Most Recent Information

You must keep your city data up to date out of the courtesy of the researcher looking for the most accurate information. Writers for example that work on articles about your city will need recent data to tell stories, reinforce arguments, and inform readers about your city above all.

With outdated data, it will be hard for anyone to find relevant information about your city, whether it is the population, economy, buildings, or anything else. With this in mind, researchers would have to do much more sleuthing to come up with conclusions or find evidence that supports their arguments. For writers and researchers to move along with their work, it would certainly help them to keep your city data up to date, preferably every year or so.

Get More Insight About The Positive And Negative Traits About Your Town Or City

You also need updated city data so you can learn more about your city and where it is trending. With current city data, you can learn about your city in the following factors:

  • Population
  • Employment
  • Income
  • Home Ownership
  • Commercial Building Ownership
  • Ethnicity
  • City Infrastructure
  • Crime
  • Auto
  • Sanitation
  • Weather
  • Tourism
  • And many more

It’s important to learn about statistics of your city so that you can learn about the highs and lows of your city, from economy to population, to everything in between. As a city official, it is crucial that you find out about all the important statistics in your city so that you can create reports for all to reference when need be. ProspectNow is a service that can help you get started with predictive analytics.

See Trends With Your City And How To Make Decisions Moving Forward

When you create reports each year, you can compare them year by year and see trends in your city and where it is headed. Are more people coming or leaving your city each year? Are properties getting more inhabited or abandoned? Are people earning more money or less? These are all the things you can observe with yearly reports, and from there, you can take action according to what is happening with your city. Trends easily help you make decisions to highlight your city’s strengths and work on its weaknesses.

Conclusion

ProspectNow can help you gather data on residential and commercial properties, allowing you to get the necessary data you need for reports and other findings. Give us a call today for more details on how you can analyze your city and its commercial and residential lots.

 

The Most Common Features Of Real Estate Technology

Real Estate Technology

Today, no property owner can go without real estate technology, also known as “property technology” and “proptech”. Real estate technology comes in the form of apps and programs designed to help property owners, buyers, sellers, renters, developers, agents, or anyone else in the field perform tasks with next to no paperwork.

What Is Real Estate Technology?

Real estate technology comes in a series of features designed to help individuals manage tasks that involve the buying, selling, and managing of property, whether it be homes, office buildings, or other locales. This technology is involved in all stages imaginable of the real estate market.

What Can You Do With Real Estate Technology?

Real estate technology benefits many kinds of people. Some use it to perform one task at a time, whereas others rely on it to perform multiple tasks for multiple projects. Here are the most common uses of real estate technology:

Find Homes

Real Estate Technology can be used for home and property buyers to browse listings in their area. Right from the comfort of their chairs, users can look at homes and read their descriptions to get a good idea of what each listing is like without driving to the home’s address. This is the most common method that home buyers and renters use to look for homes, buildings, and lots to buy and rent.

Sell Your Home

If you need to sell your home, the right software can allow you to put your house on a listing for other homebuyers to find. With real estate technology, you can enter details such as price, address, features, and photos of the property so that the people you want to sell your home can obtain all the important details.

Manage A Property

If you are either buying or selling a piece of property, but you want to manage it in other ways, real estate technology can help you analyze the property you own and look at all the people who use it. Landlords can collect rent from tenants and review their collection habits, whereas building and plaza owners can review entities that rent out spaces on their property. Property owners can view their tenants all on one screen and they can also screen potential new tenants using the proper real estate technology.

Manage Loans

Homebuyers can use real estate technology to pay off loans if they needed to borrow money to buy their property. From a computer or smartphone, the buyer can pay a certain amount of money electronically each month to gradually pay off their debt. This makes paying easier and safer, and will guarantee the money will be received on time, every time.

Mortgage Lending

Even lenders use real estate technology to borrow money for people and companies that need it. With these kinds of programs, lenders set up payment plans, telling their borrowers how much they have to pay and how much time they have to pay it. With today’s real estate technology, it is much simpler to get up plans electronically, as well as receive payments online.

Conclusion

These are the most common features that people will find in real estate technology. Over the years, it has been proven to be very beneficial and convenient for individuals to find and sell property, pay and issue loans, and other things involving property management and everything surrounding it.

ProspectNow is the ultimate real estate prospecting tool that can allow you to find owners looking to sell or refinance, find property owners, and much more. Give us a call today for more details on ProspectNow and its price tiers.