How to Start Investing in Real Estate

Real estate investments can be extremely profitable in the long run. This article will serve as the perfect guide for beginners on how to start investing in real estate.

Real estate has always been a good investment option. It is also a much safer option compared to other forms of investment such as the stock market. However, before you invest your hard-earned money, it is necessary that you are aware of the risks and expected returns from the investment. So, this article will give you some pointers on how you can go about beginning your foray into the real estate business.

Market Study
If you wish to invest in real estate, but have a limited budget, then conduct a thorough market research to know about attractive investment opportunities. By doing a careful study, you will understand which property deal suits you the best and will generate the maximum returns.

Fix Your Budget
First fix the budget for your realty investments. Decide what is your investment capacity first. Before you decide the amount to be invested, take into consideration factors such as your annual income, current liabilities, monthly expenses, etc.

Finalize the Type of Property
There are different kinds of properties you can choose from. Apartments, row houses, independent villas, bungalows, penthouses, offices, shops, residential plots or commercial land are some options which you can explore. Be aware that commercial establishments will cost much more than the residential ones.

Finalize the Location
Location plays a crucial role in all kinds of real state investments. Whether you get good returns for your property will depend on where your estate is located. So, study the areas in the city and find out the current property rates and scope for further price appreciation there. Ideally, you can try to invest in upcoming locations where you can get properties at cheap prices.

Check the Developer’s Reputation
Checking the reputation of the property developer/builder from whom you will be purchasing the property is extremely important. You should buy a property from a developer who has a good track record of delivering properties on time and having the best construction standards and quality in the real estate industry. Make sure that the developer has followed all the necessary laws while constructing the project and there are no controversies and legal hassles.

Check the Plan
The next step is to check the floor plans with the developer. Visit the developer and understand each and every minute detail and specification of the project. Take along a property agent/realtor whom you know so that he can guide you in your property selection.

Get Finance from Lenders
Real estate is one of the biggest investment options in the life of any person and a lot of money is required for that. So, you might feel the need for finance and hence you should approach top banks with your income and personal information details. Also take the project details to get your loan sanctioned easily.

One way to invest in real estate is by selling a property you own and buying a new one for higher returns. So use these tips and some advice from an expert before you dabble in the world of real estate.

11 Things You Should Know Before Moving to Costa Rica

Things to know before moving to Costa RicaCosta Rica is one of the most beautiful places on earth to live in, but relocating to another country is an important decision and you have to consider every aspect before moving there. Thousands of questions will pop up in your mind, and everything may seem confusing. Buzzle tells you the most important things that you should consider before moving to Costa Rica.
Pura Vida
“Pura Vida” is the national saying that is commonly heard in Costa Rica. It means “pure life”, a happy expression that is often used in lieu of greeting ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’, or even if someone asks how you are doing.
Costa Rica is home to some of the world’s most stunning beaches. It is Latin America’s one of the most tranquil and politically stable nations. It is loved for its full-of-life culture, beautiful environment, and a relaxed approach to life. However, moving to another country all together involves a million things than just packing your bags. You have to plan everything in advance so that you don’t have to face any difficulties upon reaching there.

Costa Rica is a safe country to live in. There might be some good reasons to move to Costa Rica, but there are some things that you should know and consider before making the move. Make sure your timing is right when you take this huge step. It should not be a hasty decision, or a decision taken in depression or while going through emotional turmoil.

Let us check out what else you will need to keep in mind before you start packing your bags.

Things to Consider When Moving to Costa Rica
Mindset and Social Habits
People of Costa Rica are said to be friendly and relaxed. Ticos are basically sociable and tolerant, but take time to cultivate good friendships. Therefore, you will need a lot of patience in getting to know people around. Try interacting more with the local people. If you know Spanish, then use it! They will be more than willing to help you and make you feel comfortable once they get to know you. Make sure you don’t compare your country and culture with that of Costa Rica. Go with this mindset, and your tenure will be an adventurous one!
Ideologies and Religion
Costa Rica has a rich culture and background in democracy and socialism. The Constitution establishes the Roman Catholic faith as the state religion, but also guarantees the freedom of worship and religion.
Establishing Residency
Establishing residency in Costa Rica has become expensive, especially in the last five years. However, it is cheaper than many parts of North America, but costlier than other parts of Latin America. The country grants you a 90-day visa, and all you will have to do is search for a decent place. After the visa limit is over, you will have to leave the country for a few days or few hours may be, and you can come back again with a new visa. But make sure you don’t make it a habit! You wouldn’t want to be tagged as a ‘come-and-goer’ by the officials! Take your time before deciding upon a place, and make sure that it is where you would want to live for the next few years.
Immigration
The immigration laws include many opportunities for residency in Costa Rica. The residential permits are allowed through family relations, business investments, retirement, or temporary employment. Permanent residency can be obtained if you are citizen of other Central American country or Spain and you’ve lived in Costa Rica for five years, having a child in Costa Rica, or marrying a Tica! The immigration process demands a lot of paperwork like reasonable fees, essential forms, authentication of documents, setting appointments, translations, and other procedures disguised in old-fashioned bureaucracy that some may consider exhausting and overwhelming. The non-residents require sponsorship from a domestic firm for work permits, and may be subjected to some restrictions. You may have the opportunity to start your own business and enjoy the income even though you might not be allowed to get on a company’s payroll.
Cost of Living
Costa Rica is a popular destination because of its affordable cost of living. It is the most important and big factor when you think of moving to another land. The earnings may seem a bit modest as compared to the Western counterparts, but other prices are way below than what you might be used to. Though, it might not be cheap always! The high-end goods and vehicles can be really pricey. If you are a gadget-freak person, then make sure to get your precious gadgets along that you might need there. Working and living in Costa Rica might be ‘Pure Vida’ for some expats because they get paid well as compared to their colleagues back home. Don’t be surprised to see some savings from your salary at the end of every month, which you hardly saw in your homeland.
Education
In case you didn’t know, Costa Rica has a literacy rate of about 96%, being one of the highest in Latin America. The government grants free education to children from grades 1st to 11th, and 12th if pursuing a vocational course. Therefore, every citizen of the country is obligated to receive education. The tuition rates may vary depending upon the institution. The education at University of Costa Rica is either free or very reasonable for those who are able to secure an admission there.
Healthcare
Those of you moving to Costa Rica don’t need to worry about your health as you may be in capable hands during your stay there. The healthcare system here is on par with other countries. The citizens or any legal residents are covered by the national healthcare and Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS). You will have access to all the major hospitals in the country. Other small hospitals and pharmacies are well-equipped and are within the reach. They have a number of medical insurance policies at reasonable prices.
Taxes
There are many tax benefits that you can enjoy after moving to Costa Rica. Property taxes are reasonable as compared to other countries, and investors are not required to pay taxes on real estate. Taxes on business are minimal, and you will also enjoy tax-free bank accounts.
Food
The fruits and vegetables are abundant due to the fertile soil and suitable climatic conditions. The typical Costa Rican food is good and simple. Caribbean and South American restaurants are popular dinning options, and serve some great food. Groceries and household goods are easily available in a number of stores, and Walmart is well-known for the same.
Transportation
Hopping onto a bus and commuting is one of the best ways to explore and get to know the country. It is modern and inexpensive. The inter-province train system connects the main parts of the metropolitan area, and will probably expand in the coming years. Taxis are a good option for reaching short distances. Renting a car would really help as it offers flexibility and endless opportunities to explore. Make sure to be careful while driving at night as the roads are dark and you might discover people biking and walking right in the middle.
Communication
The broadband and Internet connections are affordable, and offer great packages for a good-speed Internet. There is a good flexibility where wireless services are concerned.
Tips for moving to Costa Rica
◆ Learn Spanish. The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish, and the Ticos will welcome you warmly if you interact with them in their language.

◆ Use relocation services and do extensive research to find the right home, schools, universities, and other places for your children. These services help you in culture and lifestyle training.

◆ If you’re carrying your pet with you, then find out what all documents and paperwork would be required. Get in touch with your pet’s vet and have it vaccinated for traveling abroad, because chances are that it may go into quarantine.

◆ Carry all your documents safely to avoid further complications.

◆ Sell most of your household goods before moving that can be bought there.

◆ If you are looking to settle in the country after retirement, then it is advisable to start your own business, especially if you are a retiree, and also because obtaining permanent residency may take a while.

◆ Don’t be in rush to buy a house or start a business, and analyze everything in detail. Rent a house before you buy one. Eventually, everything will fall into place and you will get a hang of it after spending some time there.
Take into consideration all of these factors, and you will surely enjoy and lead a more peaceful life. Make plans such that they will yield less amount of stress and risk, and keep everything flexible and fun. Pura Vida!

Should You Buy an Apartment or Rent a House?

Buy a house if you are looking for tax benefitsThe decision of buying or renting a house depends on various factors like budget, priority, intention, etc. Moreover, this decision can have far-reaching effects on one’s career and life. If you are confused whether you should buy an apartment or rent a house, then this Buzzle article will guide you about the same.
Number Crunching
The New York Times offers a free online ‘Is It Better to Buy or Rent?’ calculator which will tells you the total cost incurred in buying or renting a place over a span of 30 years. This can give you data that will help you choose the right option for you.
Many people are confused when it comes to buying or renting a house. As this decision can be life-altering, as an individual, it is but natural to be rather unsure. Since each individual’s situation is different, there cannot be one definite answer to such a dilemma. If you want to know what will work for you, consider various scenarios to determine what is applicable for you. For example, if you are still single and do not have a growing family, which needs a permanent house, you can still save money by renting a place.

However, if you want to settle down permanently, in an area that is near to your workplace, or to your kid’s school, it is advisable to invest in a good house. Before making the right decision, you will have to consider the pros and cons of renting vs buying a house. Here is a list of factors that will help you make the right decision.

If you are looking for minimum responsibility
So, you have rented a house on a six-month or one-year lease. Whether it is repairing the roofing, taking care of the water leakage, replacing the floor, or getting a new paint job, if you are a tenant, you don’t have to worry about the expenses at all. On the other hand, if you buy an apartment, as a homeowner, the responsibility of undertaking any kind of repairs and refurbishment lies solely with you. You will have to bear the expenditure as well as find the right people to complete the job.

Preferred Option: Rent
In most cases, your renter’s agreement will clearly state that any kind of major repairs will be borne by the homeowner. Hence, renting is a great option if you are aiming at shouldering minimum responsibility.

If you do not want to opt for a mortgage loan
So you have decided to buy an apartment by applying for a housing loan. Before you begin with the application procedure, spare a moment to go over a few things. Have you considered the amount you may have to pay as down payment, the interest incurred, inspection, processing charges, etc. Needless to say, have you considered the time you will be taking away from your job to complete the lengthy formalities involved in availing and sanctioning of the loan. On the other hand, renting a place will not require you to invest your valuable time and go through scores of paperwork.

Preferred Option: Rent
The amount for the deposit or the rent can be easily afforded every month through your income. Moreover, after the term of lease is over, you get your deposit amount back when you decide to move out. Unlike home buyers who avail mortgage loans, you do not have to worry about repayment of loan over a period of 20 to 30 years.

If you want to capitalize on real-estate investment
As you know, the value of real-estate, in most likelihood, will appreciate over a period of time. For example, assuming you are 25 years old, and you pay an X amount every month as rent, if you pay the same amount in the form of an installment towards your mortgage loans, by the time you reach 50, you will be a proud owner of a real-estate asset. Not to mention, over the years, the value of the property will have appreciated, and you would have carried out a highly profitable real-estate investment.

Preferred Option: Buy
Just imagine, instead of paying rent for 10 years, you would have build an equity in the form of a house. This would not only make you the owner of the property, but also give you the benefit of increased value.

If you want a place of your own
So, the neighbors in your rented apartment raise a huge hue and cry over the number of guests you entertain, or have issues when your children play in the yard. One can often come across such neighbors or homeowners while renting a place. In a sense, your freedom can be jeopardized when it comes to a rented apartment. Whether it is about adopting a pet, playing loud music, having potted plants, hammering on the walls, exercise equipment in the porch; you may have to compromise in certain situations. Hence, it is always better, especially if you have a family, to get a place of your own rather than rent an apartment.

Preferred Option: Buy
Owning a house provides the right environment for the development of growing children. It becomes your legal property or asset. Needless to say, the sense of ownership, security, and freedom that a ‘house of our own’ provides is irreplaceable.

If you want to avail tax benefits

If you own a house, there are several tax benefits which you can avail. If you own a home office, you will be entitled for certain deductions. When you itemize your federal income taxes, you can deduct your property tax as well as the amount of mortgage interest from it. This can help you offset the cost of owning and maintaining a house. Also, under certain conditions, if you sell your home, you will not be charged with ‘capital gains’ tax for the profit earned.

Preferred Option: Buy
You are not subjected to any kind of tax benefits as a tenant, and will not be getting any deductions on your rent amount. Hence, if you own a house, you will definitely be authorized to avail various tax benefits.

If you want to have flexibility in moving out
Suppose you have a job that requires you to travel or relocate on a frequent basis, then you should reconsider buying a house. In most cases, you will not get to live in the house, or will have to sell it before moving to another location. In case you have to move out quickly, you may not find a suitable customer for your house, and may have to settle for a less than deserving sum of money. Also, given the fluctuations in the real-estate market, one cannot be absolutely sure whether retaining and maintaining the property over a period of time will fetch appreciated prices. Hence, if you have a short-term requirement, you should choose to rent rather than buy a house.

Preferred Option: Rent
If your job or situation demands that you travel or relocate, rent is the wise option. There is no point in investing your savings in an expensive asset, like a house, when you will not be utilizing it.

A Quick Overview

Rent a house if you want to…

… build a good credit history by paying your rent on time.

… invest your savings somewhere else.

… avoid owning a depreciating real-estate investment.

Buy a house if you want to…

… permanently settle in a neighborhood.

… avail a FHA loan with a lesser down payment.

… exercise creative control over the house by renovating or refurbishing it.

Needless to say, one of the vital factors which will impact your decision whether to buy an apartment or rent a house, is budget. Unless you have the money to make a down payment, and a credit score to help you avail a loan at affordable interest rates, you will have to rent an apartment. Also, if you and your spouse earn a steady income, you can buy a house by availing a mortgage loan.

How to Buy Commercial Property With No Money Down

Buying real estate with no money down is a reality and many people are already doing it. Seller financing, rural development plans, and veteran affair loans can come to your rescue if you haven’t saved enough to make the initial payment.
About two decades ago, if you did not have 20% of the down payment for buying a property, not many banks would have entertained your mortgage application. But times and changed and how. Today a down payment of around 5% is good enough to buy a commercial property. But is a zero down payment realistic? The answer is yes, but it has its own baggage of certain terms and conditions. Read on to know more.

Seller Financing

Suppose, a property is evaluated at $100,000. You sit down with the bank officials to discuss the interest rates, repayment plans, foreclosure charges etc. The bank is willing to finance 90% of the total amount, leaving you with round about $10,000 as a down payment. What if you propose a second loan of $10,000 at a higher interest rate. If you have a decent credit rating and are willing to pay a little higher interest rate, the bank might finance your down payment, with you buying the property without paying a single dime as down payment. But, you have to keep in mind that every month you would be liable to pay monthly installments on both the loans, and it may take a huge chunk out of your salary. Also, personal loans charge the higher interest rates – roughly around 20%, and you will have to pay a lot extra than you would have taken.

Rural Development Plans

Another way of buying a commercial property is to apply with the USDA rural development plans. It provides you with 100% financing for your home purchases and one does not need to be a first time buyer to qualify. Some of the benefits of buying a home this way is that there is no cap on the purchase limit and you can include the repairs and improvements in your loan. The property that you want to buy should be in a qualifying area as per the USDA rural development guidelines.

Veteran Affairs Loans

Veteran affairs loans allow veterans to buy mortgages with no money down. One has to meet all the requirements set up by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs. People who are eligible for VA loans are veterans, active duty personnel, National Guard members and some surviving spouses. You need to have documented proofs to apply for a VA loan.

These were some options for you if you are thinking of buying a property with little or no initial payment. If you are eligible for a no down payment mortgage loan, should you go for it? You should definitely think about it, but before doing that, it is essential that you have a clarity on its disadvantages.

Disadvantages

If you do not pay anything up while buying a property, you are definitely going to pay higher mortgage rates and your monthly payments would also be higher.
When you buy a property with zero down-payment, you would not get all the choices to make, and you may need to make a few compromises.

The sub-prime crisis was a result of too many people taking mortgage loan and then defaulting on their payments. While a zero down-payment may work for people who are spending more money by paying rents etc., one should carefully think about all the pros and cons of a zero down-payment loan before taking one up. I hope this article would have helped you to know how to buy commercial property with no money down and its financial implications.