Thursday, 14 August 2008

Real Estate in Belize - What's the Scoop?

It seems that over the course of the past decade an increasing number of far flung countries have began to tout their attributes as retirement destinations. What's the real story behind the hype though and are these countries such as Belize really the prime retirement and real estate investment opportunities that they hold themselves out to be? Also, is it a safe place to live particularly for the elderly?

More Bang for Your Buck

What all of these countries including Belize hold out to a retiring American who is interested in relocating to them is amazing low living costs. This means that the moment you arrive in a place like Belize, it is the same thing as all of your money tripling or quadrupling. Sure, there are newer western style planned communities where homes and property are going to be at a premium, but in the towns and provinces you can still buy a nice, solid three bedroom home for about the cost of a travel trailer in the U.S.

Personal Safety Concerns

If you believe all that you hear on the news, our trusted government and U.S. business interests would like to have you believe that if you step one foot out of the U.S. with your retirement savings, you will surly land directly on a land mine. The truth of the matter is that the vast majority of the people of Belize and all Latin American counties for that matter are peaceful good natured people.

Much Safer than the U.S.

Sure there are is a bad neighborhood in every big city that you will recognize to avoid, but if you have what it takes to live and survive in or around U.S. cities like L.A., Sacramento, Seattle. New Orleans, Reno, Little Rock, Minneapolis, etc. you will find even the worst areas of Belize a cake walk.

Written by Antonious Driver. We provide you with the very best knowledge regarding real estate in Belize as well as Belize real estate.

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There is Improvement in the Phoenix Housing Market

When the Phoenix metro area consisted of little more than rainless desert with dried-up aquifers from long-gone native peoples, a limited number of visionaries saw this land's potential back in the late 1800s. Currently home to more than 3.7 million residents, the Valley of the Sun has a rapidly expanding population. People are making their homes here by the thousands every month to experience the non-stop sunny weather, even unbearable heat in the summer. All the same, many elect to stay in the Phoenix area to escape harsh winters and savor the benefits the urban center offers. Although sports fans and outdoor enthusiasts find the area wonderful, another group is endeavoring to recall why they thought they were living in paradise on earth. These are the homeowners who are losing their homes to foreclosure.

Despite Challenges, the Phoenix Real Estate Market will Recover

The Greater Phoenix metro area real estate community has been reeling from a suffering housing market. All the same, if you pay attention to the statistics, thousands of homes are still being sold every month. What this means is that the market is not quite as dire as the media would have us believe. There are opportunities out there.

That does not mean that a number of families are not having difficulties in making their mortgage payments on properties that are over leveraged. Many families are losing their homes due to adjustable rate mortgages where they had little down payment. At the same time many in the lend industry are losing their jobs on account of the unstable market trends. Many people enjoyed the riches created in years past, and so the grumbling we hear from those who made a fortune may seem hollow at times. All the same, those very same people who profited greatly from the boom of the recent few years are also giving up on real estate.

This Time of Transformation Has Made Phoenix a Buyer's Market

Of course, troubles still abound in the Valley's real estate market. National lenders continue to close up shop. The mortgage industry is slowing down and letting people go. Normal families are having difficulties making their mortgage payments, especially when they owe a more than what their homes are presently worth. Foreclosures are going up. A third of the foreclosures were investors who jumped gleefully into the market just a short time ago. We have to tell ourselves to take a deep breath and ponder what all the lost employment, foreclosed homes and bolting investors could mean for those of us still here. We have to be on the lookout for the opportunities as they appear. When a market escalates with such ballooning enthusiasm, there is bound to be a point where some of the air leaks out. This is just one of those typical periods. In the near future, the market will start to move up again. Maybe not as fast or as furious, but surely the market will again move forward, though hopefully at a more steadily pace.

We can already see some of that positive movement in the traditionally strong areas of the Valley. Very shortly, an annual growth rate of five to eight percent will again come to those of us who are patient as new people continue to come to populate our county. After all, the market is not completely dead. How many other regions of the country tally up so many sales? I am glad to remain in the Phoenix market.

Read our blog, Arizona Community Guide, to learn about the different neighborhoods in the metro Phoenix area or check out Phoenix Real Estate Properties to find some great deals.

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Building a Home in the Pacific Northwest

If you are looking for a beautiful place to build your dream home, you should consider building that home in the Pacific Northwest. The Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful areas of the country. From forests upon forests of evergreen trees to the majestic mountain ranges, there is something that will appeal to everyone. Furthermore, the Pacific Northwest is a great area for a family to go exploring the nature that surrounds the daily living in this area.

One of the beautiful places that you could lay out your country French house plans is nestled deep into the forest. There are forests surrounding the entire Pacific Northwest region, providing numerous locales that would be perfect for the secluded home. Living amongst the forest would provide the outdoorsman plenty of hiking opportunities located right outside your front door. Building a home in the forest is perfect for a couple who likes their privacy and has an attachment to the great outdoors.

However, if you are not into roughing it in the woods, look no further than one of the many lakes, rivers, ponds or even the Pacific Ocean for the place to build your home. The places where you could build up your bungalow style house plans on a body of water are bountiful. All throughout the Pacific Northwest region there are bodies of water just waiting for you to build your perfect dream home. Building your home on the water's edge will provide countless occasions where you and your family can sit and enjoy a wondrous sunrise or sunset. Living next to the water can also provide the outdoorsy type a place where they can go fishing, water skiing or jet skiing.

If you are not looking for a place in the forest or a place near the water, but prefer something with a little cooler climate, you could think about planning your country style house plans for somewhere closer to the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. There are several beautiful mountain ranges for you to choose from. Living in the mountains will provide the outdoorsman the occasion to go cross country skiing, snow shoeing or even riding a snow mobile across the white winter snows.

Whether you desire to build a home in a forest, near the ocean or nestled deep into the mountains, the Pacific Northwest region is the ideal location for your dream home. Although the Pacific Northwest has its fair share of gray days, the view of the beautiful mountains and lush green forests more than make up for the lack of sunshine. And if the surroundings are that beautiful on a gray winter day, just imagine how beautiful it will be on a gorgeous sunny summer morning!

If you are looking for country French house plans or bungalow style house plans, be sure to visit House Plans and More today for further information. House Plans and More also has a wide variety of country style house plans to choose from.

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One Of The Common Defects On House Renovation

Now is common that people has their house renovated. It mainly carried out after house owner has obtained approval from relevant approval agency. Normally we will not know when house defect will be happened. Most of the defects will happen after certain period of time. But it may have sign of immediate effect. Immediate house defects shown mainly due to very poor qualities of workman ship, poor material used, building structure is under designed and ground condition. There are a number of possibilities of house defects will happen. It will depend on case by case basis.

One of the common defects that are the cracks line will be appeared along the joint between new building and existing building. If the building foundation is pile foundation then the effect of cracks will be more significant. It is because most of the extension works that carried out by renovation contractor is using pad foundation. If existing building is pile foundation and new extended building is pad foundation; then there will be significant of differential ground settlement. This differential settlement will make cracks happened.

It is happened because a lot of people who want to renovate house will look for building contractor, but they have forgotten that they need to look for engineer first before engage a building contractor. Un-reputable contractor will not help house’s owner to engage a structural engineer, contractor will build the house based on his owner experience. Furthermore; he only expertise on builder works, he does not has expertise on ground investigation, theory of structure and design of structure. As a result, the finish product will cause the cracks line happen as mention above.

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A Home Inspector is a Home Buyer's Best Friend

After weeks, maybe even months of searching, you’ve finally found your dream home. It’s everything you wanted and more. You’re already envisioning how your favorite chair will look in that charming little corner by the window. But before you move in, it’s important that you get better acquainted with the property you’ve fallen in love with.

While the hardwood floors are to die for and you love the bay window in the den, some of the things that may not be visible to the typical buyer’s eye need to be taken into account. Are the electrical systems up to date? Is the home properly insulated? Are there any signs of deterioration on the exterior of the home? Are there any areas of concern in the crawl space or basement such as mold or fungi? These are all questions that should be asked. However it will take a trained professional to answer them. That’s where your new best friend, the home inspector, comes in.

A home inspector is trained to diligently assess damage, deterioration and potential danger in a home. “A complete home inspection covers all of the major systems of a house, including structure, exterior, roofing, electrical, heating, cooling, insulation, plumbing and interior,” says Scott Dana, owner of Dana Home Inspections in Roswell, Georgia and an officer in the Georgia Chapter of the National Association of Home Inspectors.

Once a home inspector evaluates the home, he or she writes a comprehensive report, including photos, which explains in detail any defects or hazards that are apparent. Unfortunately not every report will be favorable and high hopes can suddenly become deflated due to bad news. But regardless, a home inspection is critical to the safety, security and sealing of the deal in any real estate transaction.

Naturally with every major transaction there are risks involved. Even home inspectors can’t guarantee every aspect of the property. “Inspectors are limited by what they can see and touch. Thus, there may be issues inside walls or in inaccessible areas that may have problems that inspectors will not be able to see,” says Scott Dana. However, as the buyer you can rest easier by doing your due-diligence and taking every measure to ensure that your dream home doesn’t turn into an unfortunate nightmare.


While style, location and affordability are all important factors when purchasing a home, safety comes first. There’s nothing more important than being assured that the property you purchase will be free of harm for you and your family. A home inspection will help you determine that there are no hazardous conditions. Something as simple as a defective safety reverse mechanism on a garage door or a garage door opener installed lower than the manufacturer recommended 60 inches from the ground would probably not be noticed by an eager buyer. But these oversights could be potentially dangerous for a small child in the home. Buyers also may be unaware of problems in crawl spaces or basements such as pests, infestation or hazardous substances such as mold. Inspectors will know to look in these areas and determine if there is cause for concern.

“When an inspector finds something that appears to be mold, they typically tell their clients that they have detected a "mold-like" substance and that further testing is needed by a company that specializes in mold detection and remediation,” says Scott Dana. These precautions are critical and are imperative in determining that the home you’re buying will be a safe and healthy environment for your family.


Because your home is one of the largest investments you will make, you want to be sure that your investment is secure. What may seem initially like a charming fixer-upper could turn into a money pit if substantial needed repairs are not discovered before the deal is closed. A home inspection will allow buyers to make more informed decisions about the soundness of their investment by determining exactly how much work and money may be required to resolve any issues. Homes that are in need of a little TLC can still be great deals as long as the repairs required are primarily cosmetic and affordable rather than structural and costly. Major issues can be a real deal breaker.

“By far the biggest deal breakers are those requiring the most money to fix, including problems with the foundation or structure of the home. Conversely, deal breakers can also be lots of little cost items that, when taken as a whole, cause the buyer to not feel good about the home. Lastly, if a house has a more-than-minor mold problem, or high levels of Radon gas detected, that might cause the deal to fall through,” Scott Dana remarks.


Once your home inspection has been completed, what next? If the home inspector’s report doesn’t note any serious problems, you’re well on your way to moving into your dream home! If the report lists a number of issues and areas of concern, you still have a few options. Firstly, you can ask the seller to make repairs. A motivated seller may be eager to appease a willing buyer and work to remedy areas of concern noted in the inspection report. Secondly, you can negotiate. “[Buyers] can get estimates of repairs and place a bid on the property taking into consideration those potential costs,” says Scott Dana. Lastly, if the inspection report lists a large number if issues, you can continue your home search and find a property that will require less maintenance and attention.

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Real Estate Investment Strategies to Accumulate Cash

Plenty of fancy words have been written about real estate investment strategies. But I want to cut to the chase in this article. No matter how fancy the language is, investment strategies boil down to two objectives:

Buying real estate to accumulate cash.

Buying real estate to build equity and wealth.

Which strategy to choose depends entirely on you—your needs, your personality, and so forth. Frankly, either choice is fine as long as you choose one early in your career, commit to it over the long term and do everything you legally can to make it successful.

In this article, I'll look at the cash accumulation strategies and the pros and cons of each. I'll treat the build equity and wealth strategy in another article.

The Cash Accumulation Strategy - Let's assume you're relatively new to the real estate market and need methods for pursuing a cash accumulation strategy. Below are several methods you can try:

Bird Dogging - In simple terms, you find good properties for investors and charge them a finder's fee for doing so. This is strictly a cash strategy.

Advantages: It doesn't require any cash on your part or previous knowledge. It's also the fastest way to earn cash. In addition, it's a great way to "learn the ropes" of the local real estate market.

Disadvantages: The money you earn per transaction is the least in the market. It also takes considerable time and effort to locate suitable properties.

Flipping - Flipping is the art of buying a property, waiting for the right moment, and then selling it for a quick profit. In basic terms, you're get control of the property with a binding purchase contract. Essentially, it's a speculative strategy; that is, you're gambling that the market value will rise to the point where you can make a fast profit before you close on the deal. This strategy is most effective in areas where the demand for housing is so high that there's a limited supply, causing prices to rapidly rise.

Advantages: With this method, you'll get negotiation leverage and good profit potential. You can put little money down and get great gains. Also, it can be a good life if you enjoy an entrepreneurial life style and a lot of freedom.

Disadvantages: Volume can be low, depending on market conditions so your income can fluctuate. Although flipping is entirely legal, it received bad press due to con artists making a quick buck by duping customers. So, you may need a very thick skin in terms of other people's opinions of you. A second disadvantage occurs when too many speculators get into the market. When that happens, prices drop quickly, and you end up stuck with the property and no immediate profit. A third possible downside is that interest rates can rise, thus dampening the demand for housing. A final disadvantage is hidden property problems. If you don't pursue careful due diligence, you can end up with expensive repair costs that eat up your profits or even cause a loss.

Buy and Sell As-Is - This method is simple: buy a property, leave it as-is, and then put it back on the market but at a higher price.

Advantage: When done right, you'll find that the profit margin is even higher than with the flipping method.

Disadvantages: This method takes time and, due to that fact, volume may be low.

Buy, Improve, Sell - With this method, you purchase a property, make cost-effective improvements, and then sell it at a higher price.

Advantage: Margins are even better with this "rehabbing" method than with the previous methods.

Disadvantages: With this methodComputer Technology Articles, you have a much bigger investment of time and money than the previous methods.

Key Point: Choose the strategy that best suits your situation and your personalit

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New! The First Do-It-Yourself, Predatory - Lending - Proof Internet Mortgage

Remember when the only way to buy stocks was through a full-service broker? Even if you already knew which stocks and how many shares you would want to buy, you would still need to pay the broker's hefty commission fee. You may not have needed or even wanted his or her advice, but you had no choice but to pay the full fare anyway.

The Internet changed all of that. You can now do your own investing without having to worry which particular stock the broker is attempting to push that day. He or she may have had little regard for you and your needs, but primarily had the need to fatten his or her own wallet.

An area of investing that could be made far more efficient is mortgage lending.

Everyday in America, thousands of consumers are victims of mortgage loan officer schemes that ultimately cost the borrower thousands of dollars more than they originally were led to believe. This is so common, that “predatory lending” and its impact is a growing concern among consumer interest groups and government regulators.

Wouldn't it be nice if, like in the ability to purchase your own stocks, you could do your own research and choose your own loan without having to worry about the needs of a greedy, self-serving loan officer (many of whom have been written up, after the fact, in the press)? Their extreme practices have even led some trusting consumers into foreclosure.

Thanks to a mortgage company in Chicago, the Internet and technology, you now have the ability to go online and within about 15 minutes receive a loan approval for their client without having to go through the traditional mortgage process. The system is so sophisticated that it is predatory lending proof. The computer does not have the ability to charge a consumer more because it thinks the borrower does not know any better. It simply evaluates the client and gives him or her the right program at the right price, saving the consumer’s money and time.

Jonathan Cosie, CEO and founder of MortgageTrends & RealEstatePro News, has endorsed this technology as a 2006 Top Industry Technology pick stating that “This is the first, true self-serve online mortgage solution we have ever seen. Other online lenders state that you can do a mortgage online, but the reality is that you either give them information that they sell as a lead to loan officers or they have a loan officer call you. Both of those scenarios often lead to added costs and frustration to the consumer. Our team is very, very impressed with this concept.”

Once your information has been entered, a loan manager works with you to complete the loan package in a low pressure environment. After the financial information has been evaluated, you simply selects the type and term of loan that they are interested in and the system then immediately begins the underwriting process. You can view all actual (not estimated) closing costs for each loan match presented. This leaves little margin for error and no opportunity for predatory lending practices. Once a loan is selected, the loan manager gets the client to closing on time, with no “packing” of fees. No games and no gimmicks.

In the same way that has changed the way consumers buy books, this mortgage company in Chicago will soon change the way that borrowers buy mortgages, forever.

Experienced mortgage broker, creator of one of the most informative home-buying educational seminars in America and author of Kickback: Confessions of a Mortgage Salesman, one of the best-selling mortgage books on, Ted Janusz educates first-time home buyers and seasoned real estate professionals on the Top 10 Mistakes people make when obtaining a mortgage. For more information, please visit his website at You may also email Ted at

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