All About About The Tiny Home Movement

The high cost of real estate has left many in search of alternatives to conventional homes that come at a more affordable price. The tiny home movement continues to grow in popularity, especially for those who are seeking to enjoy all the benefits of owning a house without the high costs and expenses usually associated with such an asset. Homes that have been specifically designed to be as small as possible without sacrificing comfort or utility have much to offer. These homes are designed to be highly mobile and offer the perfect solution for professionals whose career does not tie them to one specific location.

Unlike campers, trailers and conventional mobile homes that are often designed for either short term use or that offer limited quality and comfort, tine homes are designed for maximum efficiency. Houses that are rarely larger than a few hundred square feet can provide many of the environments and amenities that property owners would expect to find in a much larger structure. Eliminating any space that is not being utilized and making every effort to create the most efficient environment possible offers a way to pack a great deal of value into a very small package. Small homes are often designed to be as mobile as possible in order to better suit the needs of owners who lead a more nomadic lifestyle.

Owning a conventional home is often a more expensive undertaking than many first time property owners may realize. Landscaping, foundations and the utility costs associated with a larger interior environment can quickly become very expensive. Smaller structures and those that require less resources and effort to maintain can make the dream of owning a house far more attainable. Spending more to maintain areas and environments that property owners may be able to do without can make maintaining a property far more expensive. Houses that have been created to be as efficient as possible can often be owned and maintained for a price that few existing property owners may have believed possible.

Internet technologies and mobile devices have given rise to a workforce that is more mobile than ever before. Professionals who are not tethered to a single location are increasingly interested in any opportunities that may allow them to more easily travel. Homes that can be easily transported from one location to the next provide the perfect solution for professionals who are seeking to see more of the world. The ability to enjoy all the comforts of home when on the road or to more easily move to different regions and enjoy a wider range of short term living opportunities and arrangements.

While the first small homes were designed and build by their owners, the growing popularity of these structures means that those who are interested in owning one have far more options at their disposal. Professionally designed and built homes make ownership much easier, especially for those who lack the means or inclination to do the construction themselves. Working with a professional designer can provide plenty of benefits.

Online communities and forums offer owners and those interested in the advantages that smaller homes are able to offer the chance to discuss their situations. Learning all you can about any homes that may fit your budget and lifestyle may be easier than you would have expected. Making smarter and more informed decisions will allow you to avoid many of the common issues and pitfalls that first time owners may be likely to experience. Conducting a little research will ensure that you are able to make the best decisions possible and will help to ensure that you do not overlook any opportunities that may provide you with greater satisfaction or value.

The issues and expenses associated with owning conventional homes can pose a real obstacle for many owners. Smaller structures and homes that are designed to provide superior quality and comfort offer a more affordable way to make your dream a reality. Investing in the right opportunity or working with a designer or construction professional who will allow you to more easily meet your needs may allow you to more easily fulfill your dreams.

From mobile professionals to those who lack the resources and finances needed to invest in conventional homes, there are plenty of people who can benefit from a smaller and more affordable alternative. Homes created to provide the most comfort in the smallest amount of space have a great deal to offer, and may allow you to enjoy the lifestyle you have always wanted. Structures and homes that offer a more affordable and mobile lifestyle may provide the solution you have been seeking.

 

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Tips To Move On With Real Estate

When it’s time to make a big change, life may offer a subtle sign, like a spouse’s note on your pillow that reads, “I never want to see you again”. But how do you know when to nail that “For Sale” sign in the front yard of your real estate?

As life-changing decisions go, selling your home is right up there. Whether it’s to take a promotion, care for aging parents or something more personal, only you can say if it’s the right move for you. But if the choice to sell real estate has been made and the only thing left to decide is the timing, a few pointed questions should tell you if that time is now.

Can We Afford it?

It sounds like an obvious question. Yet given that household total credit-market debt – mortgages, consumer credit and non-mortgage loans – rose to 162.6 per cent of disposable income last year (how is that even possible?), it’s not. Maybe you got in over your head with your first home, but now that you’re slightly older and much wiser, take a close look at your finances before making a move with real estate:

• Is all of your non-mortgage debt paid off?

• Do you have an emergency fund with 3-6 months of expenses put aside?

• Has your home recovered enough value to give you at least 20% equity for your purchase? This will enable you to make a 20% down payment on your next home, saving you thousands of dollars in mortgage insurance costs. If you don’t know the answer, ask an experienced realtor for a free comparative market analysis that will indicate the approximate market value of your real estate.

If you answered “yes” to all three, you may be ready to take the plunge in selling real estate. If you’re not sure what an emergency fund is, you still have work to do.

Are We Still Emotionally Attached to our Current Home?

Do you tear up when you see the notches in the wall where you measured your child’s growth, or do you just think “they must have an app for that now”?

On the other hand, you may have recently experienced a divorce or other loss that necessitates a fresh start.

Usually the reality is somewhere between those two extremes. Whereas the question about finance was directed at the head, this one is clearly for the heart. If you’re quiet for a moment, it will tell you what to do. You just have to listen.

Remember, an expert realtor can offer a wealth of advice on the sale of your real estate. If you’re not ready to take it, however, you’re not ready to sell.

Does our Home Still Fit our Lifestyle?

In most cases, moving out of real estate is more than just moving over. It’s moving up or down. If you have a new addition or one on the way, it might be time for another bedroom or two to keep the “happy” in “one big happy family”. Conversely, when the kids (finally) leave the nest, downsizing can mean less upkeep and more time to enjoy the peace and quiet. After all, you’ve earned it.

With so much at stake and so many factors to weigh, the decision to sell your real estate is rarely a simple one. Nevertheless, taking stock of your finances, emotions and lifestyle can go a long way to giving you clarity. And if you should get that nasty note on your pillow, look on the bright side. Your moving decision just got a whole lot easier.

 

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Tips to Find Real Estate in Singapore

Being a modern country, the search for and identification of desired property in Singapore are accomplished by having access to website portals, agencies and exchanges, guides and classifieds.

Different ways to locate and identify properties

With the great strides made in the tech and telecommunications the search for real estate, like everything else has been highly automated.

Website portals

This is perhaps the easiest and primary method that people in Singapore use when searching for property. With a click of the cursor an untold number of sites can be browsed to provide an unending stream of information on real estate bargains, sites and prices that boggles the imagination.

One website alone may itemize literally thousands of apartment entries.

The most sought after website in Singapore is STProperties (owned by the local newspaper) which has been known to list an astounding 24,856 real estate of all shapes, sizes and prices.

R.E. guides

The Singapore R.E. Guide is a popular reference aid to Singaporeans.

The guide is surfed on the internet and it provides a wealth of information.

It itemizes a fine collection of available apartments, condos, flats and houses for potential buyers and also provides an extensive array of available properties in their classifieds section.

Some searchers also refer to the Top Condominium in Singapore for prestige condos and family condos.

Expats in Singapore usually browse the web for choice condo apartments in Orchard, River Valley, Bukit Timah, Tanjong Rhu and the East Coast.

Estate agencies

In Singapore, new undertakings in real estate are eagerly sought and people seek the help of the Singapore R.E. Exchange (SRX) to secure information on recently sold properties and validated lists of property. They also have recourse to PropNext with its thousands of agents and consultancies that provide property market updates, trends, policies and a lot more.

Classified advertisements

Gone are the days when the radio and newspaper were the only sites for viewing classified advertisements where items were grouped together by type.

People in Singapore approach countless websites and portals to select their favorite site where they can look for real estate or advertise their own condo, flat, car or even a house for selling them.

Searching for house in Singapore is relatively simple as laws are vigourously enforced and it is highly unlikely that anything will go wrong… Your budget will largely decide where you buy and as transport is so good your commute is unlikely to be a problem…

 

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Things You Should Think Before Becoming An Income Apartment Investor

Are you an investor whose primary concern is to earn income, that is income less expenses? Then, here are the things you care mostly about: the rent you are receiving, the body corporate fees, the rates, and any other outgoings. Below are specific details you need to know to make sure you are putting your money into an income-generating apartment.

1. Which type of apartment is the best?

If you are an apartment buyer and want to become a successful income investor, the best types of apartments to invest in are the smaller ones. Ideally, you should buy properties that are below 50 square meters as they give higher returns particularly those that are below 40 square meters.

2. Why smaller apartments are better?

The obvious reason is that smaller ones are easier to rent than larger ones. As an owner, it’s much more difficult to find tenants for a large apartment with many rooms. Naturally, you need to look for a family or a group of individuals who want to live all together or you will have multi-tenancies who prefer home-sharing.

Secondly, apartment size is an important criterion for bank lending. Banks have certain restrictions on apartments that are below 40m2.

Smaller apartments are most often income focused and buyers need to deposit at least 50%.

All these simply mean all your other occupiers are taken out since they cannot afford either the 50% deposit or the fact that no bank would give what they need. Most of the owners of smaller apartments are investors which is perhaps the reason why they are categorized as investor apartments.

3. How do you measure the true value of your chosen apartment?

With the many sales methods used these days, it can be a really challenging task to find the true value of the apartment you’re looking to invest in. The most effective way to accomplish this is through an apartment valuation tool which uses real world sales data and assess the property based on its current condition along with other important factors such as location, size, number of bedrooms, accessibility, amenities, general atmosphere, as well as the distance from city services and other basic landmarks.

 

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Tips To Redesigns For An Old Flat

When you have a garage or outdoor shed in your property that is no longer being used, one option that you can consider for putting this space to good use is to convert it into a granny flat. This miniature house of sorts has become a popular fixture in many Australian homes because it offers a great way to utilise space in a residential property as well as save on rental costs that a person would have to pay if he were to settle into a place elsewhere.

This second dwelling can be fixed up to be attached to the house or separated. Many property owners choose to build it as a separate structure so that it would not disrupt the original house, which could involve high renovation fees.

Not just for grannies

The name “granny flat” is said to have come from the fact that these structures would be used by families to provide a separate living space for their ageing or disabled parents, so that they could maintain some degree of independence while still remaining within the family property where they can have company, assistance or any help that they would need.

But more and more people are becoming creative with their use of the granny flat; others would use the space as a home office or a place to pursue hobbies, like making crafts or building things in a workshop. Still others fix up the place to so that they can rent it out to individuals or couples looking for an affordable place to live.

How do these spaces look?

Granny flat designs, Sydney experts say, can vary greatly from place to place, depending on their intended purpose. Generally, a granny flat has to be smaller than the original house in the property; some of the minimum requirements include maintaining a property size of 450 square metres, and a maximum size of 60 square metres for the actual granny flat.

Some granny flats come with one or two bedrooms, one bathroom, and an open-plan kitchen and living area. Others can have up to three bedrooms and two bathrooms instead of one, plus high ceilings so that the unit can benefit from more space and light. A porch in front can also be incorporated so that its dwellers can have a place to enjoy the sun and the breeze.

Because these secondary units are smaller, it can take only about eight to 12 weeks for them to be built. If you’re eager to get one built on your property, it’s best to get in touch with a company that specialises in building granny flats – you can pick from their prepared designs or work closely with them to have a customised design followed for the unit. Click here to know more.

 

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Young Renters Prospects for Becoming Owners

Current statistics suggest that fewer and fewer people in the middle class will own their homes, particularly among the young. But several forces defy that trend.

The numbers suggest a downward economic slide: real estate chain Countrywide predicts another 600,000 people will be renters and not owners by the year 2019. This is on top of the million UK residents – concentrated in the 25- to 34-year-old age group – who have become renters since 2010.

What’s going on is fairly easy to understand. As the UK population has grown in the 21st century, house building has failed to keep up. This supply shortage increases the cost of both ownership and renting. Compounding this was the financial crisis of 2008, which was followed by a tightening of credit on all borrowing. Younger workers were being paid less as the price of housing went up. Now with wages rising, the main challenge is mustering an adequate deposit – which more typically comes from the “bank of mum and dad” than what individuals are able to save.

So what do those with money to invest make of this? Is the best option to invest in REITs, which largely concentrate on the rented sector? To be a buy-to-let landlord?

There are indicators that, despite dim prognostications on the growing renter class, that building for homeowners is still a smart path for all concerned:

• Most people agree, within Government and among economists, that an ownership society is a more economically stable society. Brits who are on the property ladder will accumulate much more wealth over decades that will provide them a more comfortable retirement.

• Shelter, the housing charity, encourages building for all economic strata as it takes a general “rising tide raises all boats” perspective. What the organisation wants is more homes, period, such that those at the lowest levels can find affordable rents.

• Government initiatives that enable buying – Help to Buy, Right to Buy and Starter Homes schemes – have already proven or are likely to prove successful at stimulating both purchase access and increased homebuilding.

• There is a growing consensus that some greenfield and green belt lands might be swapped for brownfield property that would be more appropriately repurposed as urban greenspace (versus residential construction). With more land on the periphery of major cities dedicated to residences, it becomes possible to improve the quality of life nearest centres of work and commercial developments.

• Local planning authorities that are tasked with development goals from the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) are reaching for ways to collectively increase the nation’s housing stock, many of which are written with the input of property fund partners whose research show where people want most to locate their homes and where infrastructure will be most cost effective.

• London is no longer the only place to live: anet outflow of 22,000 people in their 30s happened in 2013-2014, a response to soaring house prices there and simply recognising that cities north, west and south have a good quality of living to offer (Birmingham is the favourite, followed by Bristol, Manchester, Nottingham and Oxford).

Investment capital into property generally follows these migrations, and consequently the healthier supply of homes in those cities means that they are becoming more affordable. Particularly in an information-driven economy, this cultural shift is much more likely over time.

Who can analyse specific investments as well as the general balancing of risk in individual portfolios. There are many variables in real estate and housing investments and as such should they should be considered holistically.

 

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Tips To Hire a Contractor to Do Work in Your Home

An important aspect of hiring a contractor to do work in your home is to understand what permits, special requirements or licensure are required for each job. Once that’s understood, you can know whether it’s best to hire a licensed contractor or a handyman.

REFERRALS
Be sure to ask for referrals and references and know the relationship of those referring parties to the contractor. Ask for pictures of installations on similar jobs that have been performed for others and give those referring parties a call or visit to ask how the work was performed, the attitude during the job, coming in on budget and wrapping up on time. Discover if there are any negative remarks online or with the BBB. Be sure he or she is qualified to handle the scope and type of work needed, especially with regard to special conditions such as lead based paint, asbestos, mold, etc.

IDENTITY
If the home is occupied, if personal items are stored there or is otherwise notid_verified vacant, be sure to qualify your contractor if he’s unknown to you through online services such as mysmartmove.com or others. Get a copy of the contractors driver’s license and have him sign a w-9 to include his social security number. If you’re an investor and renovations are common for you, you may want to investigate the Verify Photo ID app recommended by Inman News.

CONTRACT
Next, execute an Independent Contractor Agreement with your contractor. Be certain it has no verbiage or requirements to suggest the contractor is an employee of yours.

PHASES
Now is the time to outline and understand the three phases of the renovation. The initial Phase One is paid on day 1 of the job. The subsequent draws for Phases Two and Three should be paid by the week, on a Monday or Tuesday. In constructing the phases, the contractor should budget for each item and any overages or misquote is the responsibility of the contractor, not the homeowner. Make sure your agreement covers things such as milestones, and outlines the scope and sequence of the work to be completed. The contract should include the description of all work, and condition of Customer Satisfaction such as all items completed in a workman like manner, job site left clean and tidy daily, and no items incomplete.

MATERIALS
Ideally the home owner should have chosen paint colors, sheens, types for each space, cabinets, granite and whatever materials will be used in the project at the source. Have your Independent Contractor pay for those materials and have that provider deliver the materials to the job site, then reimburse the contractor immediately – this strategy avoids any appearance of establishing an employee/employer relationship. Do not pay for routine tools and supplies the contractor uses in his everyday business such as paint brushes, ladders, tarps, etc.

UPDATES
If you’re not the owner occupant at the job site, require the contractor to provide daily pictures and videos of each phase when complete before scheduling a personal inspection and before payment on that phase is released. An investor can use this in the future or marketing.

COMPLETION
In exchange for the final payment the homeowner should sign off that he is satisfied with the job, and the independent contractor should sign that he is releasing all liens in exchange for final payment.

 

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Tips On Natural Ventilation Systems in Buildings

All buildings, whether residential or commercial,require adequate ventilation in order to protect the health of occupants in regular circumstances as well as in emergency situations such as fires or other contaminations of the air.

There are several types of ventilation systems, with the two main ones currently in use being natural ventilation and mechanical ventilation. Each of these is distinctly different in its way of working as well as the advantages and disadvantages it brings to the structure it is integrated into or installed in.

The presence of either of these systems is critical for a number of reasons, including the removal of stale air and toxic gases, the replenishing of fresh and clean air in an environment, the removal of moisture, and the elimination of odours, bacteria and excess heat.

Natural ventilation basically refers to any system that does not require the use of mechanical devices to displace air in the structure, instead using organic airflow and openings to draw stale air and pollutants through and out of the building.

In this lies the first of five major benefits that this type of system offers – potentially reduced installation costs compared to its mechanical counterpart. This only applies in certain circumstances however – if an effective system is designed as part of the structure before construction, then the costs are absorbed into the build.

It should be noted that mechanical systems can still offer better value for money where having the maximum surface area available is important for getting the largest commercial return, for example in car parks, some retail environments and other similar venues.

The second advantage to natural ventilation is also budget-related; mechanical installations can be very costly to operate, not only due to the need for fans, but also because of air conditioning units which can increase energy consumption costs by up to 30% per building according to reports.

On the other hand, more organic ways of optimising air circulation in structures can mean that this cost is practically eliminated, making it a financially-sound long term solution for companies that are looking to economise in all the areas that they can.

It is should also be noted that this type of ventilation is also a great deal greener than mechanical ventilation systems, as it uses significantly less energy to operate efficiently. For this reason, the third advantage of natural ventilation is the fact that it is the far more environmentally-friendly solution out of the two main choices, and is therefore also possibly a real solution for the future.

A fourth benefit that comes with using a more organic and already-integrated ventilation solution in a building is that fact that its rival – the mechanically driven system – requires regular maintenance to make sure that it is doing its job properly and that it meets the relevant healthy and safety requirements.

This is not so true for natural ventilation systems, which do not have as many essential parts that need regular upkeep and replacement on a frequent basis. Although all systems should be regularly inspected to ensure that they are working optimally, costly and lengthy maintenance work is virtually eliminated with this option.

The fifth and final advantage of natural ventilation is that it has been shown to be a popular choice of system with building occupants compared to the mechanical variety. The reason for this is thought to be due to the level of thermal comfort that each choice provides, with many finding that mechanically operated solutions often make a room too cold or too warm.

Conversely, the other option is often able to effectively maintain an ideal temperature, despite the fact that there are no controls apart from simply opening or closing a window.

All types of ventilation systems have their good points and bad points, and the natural solution is no exception. That said, it is an option that brings considerable cost savings, not to mention improvements in occupant comfort and less of a negative impact on the environment, making it a potentially ideal solution for a greener future and a thriving global economy.

 

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Tips to Deal With a Low Home Appraisal

Want to learn how to deal with a low home appraisal? In a competitive real estate market, a home being sold may enter into a multiple offer situation which could potentially raise the purchase price above the comparable sales in the area. In a situation like this, it is possible that the home appraisal for the buyer’s mortgage lender will come in lower than the purchase price. In a real estate market that favors buyers (home prices are soft or declining), sellers can also face a home appraisal that is lower than what they paid for the home if they bought the house at the peak of the market. Be aware that a low home appraisal can happen in any type of real estate market.

Why Do Low Appraisals Happen?

Here are a few reasons why a home appraisals may come in low:

Inflated home price because of multiple offers.
Declining real estate market due to a large inventory of homes and not enough buyers.
The seller has overpriced the home.
The real estate appraiser lacks experience and doesn’t understand the influences on value.
The real estate appraiser incorrectly selected his comparable sales for his report which may have resulted in a lower home value than what should have been assessed.
Solutions for Low Appraisals

If a low home appraisal is threatening to sink your sale, purchase or refinance, stay calm, here are a couple solutions:

The buyer can pay you the difference between the purchase price you agreed upon and the appraised price in cash, you can sell the property for the appraised value and get the difference from the agreed upon higher price in a lump sum cash payment if the buyer is able to do so.

If you are the seller of the home you do have the option of lowering the selling price. If you don’t you will run the risk of every buyer running into the same problem and not being able to get a mortgage because of a low appraisal.

The seller can offer to carry a second mortgage for the difference.

If the buyer feels they absolutely have to have your home and you are not willing to lower the selling price and the buyer cannot come up with a lump sum to pay you (as mentioned in option 1) you could accept having them make payments to you over a period of time instead of the lump sum.

Get a second opinion, have the buyer ask the mortgage lender for a list of their approved appraisers and select another company on this list and hope for a higher value, you could end up wasting another $300 on an appraisal but appraisers are not perfect and a mistake could have happened.

Cancel the transaction.
Have your realtor put in your purchase and sale agreement a loan contingency that if the home appraises for a lower value that you will get your money back (if you’re the buyer). If you are a seller being affected by a low appraisal propose on of the above options to your buyer if you would like to try and salvage the transaction.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9203867

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Horror Stories On Property

A couple months ago I had a client bring me a deal to fund. He was pursuing a wholesale deal and the precursory buy/sell figures looked great. I started building his file, which I anticipated to be a no money down deal with a fast close in 2 weeks. Then, he sent me the contract. As a standard practice, we always review the contract to make sure there are no “gottcha’s” that might derail a deal, and in reviewing this client’s file, everything looked good, with the exception of the name of the buyer. The wholesaler had prepared the contract using their company name instead of using a “throw-away” LLC (see below). I’ve seen this before, and it typically doesn’t cause any issues if you schedule a double closing; however, before I could advise the client, the wholesaler had received an addendum from the seller adding the client to the contract. The result: both the wholesaler and the end buyer, the client, were listed on the contract! In other words, the client, unbeknownst to him, just landed himself a partner.

As you probably know, the title for the property has to match the Deed of Trust, and both documents match the name(s) of the buyer(s) on the contract. Being as such, we had to scramble to qualify the wholesaler since he’s now the client’s partner, which completely changed the funding strategy. Most importantly, I had to have a heart to heart with the client. Did he want a partner? Was the wholesaler even willing to be partner? Ultimately, the wholesaler agreed to sign on the note and Deed of Trust, but would immediately quit claim the Deed to my client after closing and gracefully bow out of being partnered into the deal. Easy enough, right?

Wait, what about the insurance? The insurance would probably be a simple fix, similar to the Deed, but what about the note? Upon signing, the wholesaler, unbeknownst to himself, was going to be responsible for repayment of the loan without being part of the deal! More red flags. Did I mention we only had 2 weeks to get this closed??? Time was moving fast and nothing was falling into place. After many more emails and plenty of phone calls all around, the deal ended up disintegrating for many reasons, such as the seller not being willing to rewrite the contract, allowing for a proper wholesale and the two new “partners” disagreeing on structuring the deal between them. Worst part, both parties had put down big earnest money checks. Last I heard they were all trying to get their money back.

The moral of the story, before you try to wholesale a deal, make sure you fully understand how to properly structure the transfer. Here are a couple of ways to structure a wholesale:

Assignment. The easiest and best way to structure a wholesale is to do an assignment; simple, clean and easy. Usually a one page assignment of contract will suffice, so long as the contract is assignable, which most private seller offers are.

“Throw-Away” LLC. If you are buying a bank REO and the bank won’t allow assignments, the next best strategy would be to use that “throw-away” LLC I mentioned earlier, or alternatively a trust. Under the “throw-away” LLC method, a wholesaler creates a brand new LLC for the sole purpose of buying and transferring ownership in the property. The wholesaler simply sells his interest in the LLC to the buyer, and from the bank’s standpoint, the buyer remains the same (i.e. the “throw-away” LLC).

Double Closing. An alternative, and less desirable way to wholesale, would be through a double closing. This alternative results in two closings at the same time: the first results in sale of the property from the seller to the wholesaler, and the second results in the sale of the property from the wholesaler to the end-buyer. Like I mentioned before, this method is the least desirable and should be avoided if possible, due to the added costs of an extra closing, as well as the management of all of the moving parts associated with the second closing.

If you have any questions on any of these methods, or if you have a success or horror story of your own you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you!

 

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