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Joyce Dent's Blog

By Joyce Dent | Real Estate Pro in Philadelphia, PA

Real Talk

Welcome all to "Real" talk, Real Estate that is!!!!


By Joyce Dent,  Sun Feb 20 2011, 11:06
By Linda S. Cefalu,  Sun Feb 20 2011, 12:21
Ooh, Ooh, I got one! No money and two part-time jobs, still in high school, but longed to be on my own. I had a little bed light for my living room lamp. I worked at a car wash and Burger Chef (anyone remember those?). My boss at the time was also an ex boyfriend, so he let me take handfuls of these crazy daisies that they were giving away. I wanted them because they had sort of plastic coating that could be washed off. I stuck them all of some cardboard orange crates and used them for end tables. I made curtains from old bed sheets that I bought at the Goodwill - I was the envy of all my friends :)

I cut out pictures from someone else's old magazines and bought Goodwill frames to have some art on my walls. I learned how to make soup from the broccoli stems that others threw away.

My bed was a hide-a-bed that I had to fold up every day. I hated sleeping on it 'cause the polls dug in my hips and legs. Ugh! I bought a big green over stuffed chair for $2.50 at an estate sale. I used duck tape to pick up the lint because I didn't own a vacuum cleaner.

The first winter I lived there the snow drifts covered my only entrance and exit and I had to go through a neighbor's apartment and jump down in to the snow to get out to my car which was plowed in by the plow trucks going through the alley.

Boy, I loved that old place. I was so proud!

Thanks for bringing me back and 'causing me to take a moment to realize how far I've come!
By Joyce Dent,  Mon Feb 21 2011, 13:21
lol wow!!!! it took me back as well!!! thanks for sharing linda.
By Joyce Dent,  Mon Feb 21 2011, 13:28
Things to Consider when Interviewing Property Management Companies

find a good property manager Picking a great property manager for your rental properties is one of the most important tasks you’ll undertake, once you’ve actually found a good rental. In searching for a manager, you’ll want to do a thorough interview, and in doing so, you should be able to figure out if they are worth working with. Here are some questions you’ll want to keep in mind when interviewing managers.
Questions to Consider When Interviewing Property Managers

1 – Cost: Managers generally charge a monthly fee to watch and maintain your property. Those fees can range from as low as 5% or so, to upwards of 20%. Obviously, you should look for a company that charges less and provides more services.

2 – Communication: For me, communication with a manager is of the utmost importance. I need someone who uses email, and is responsive to both the telephone and email. If I don’t get a response back in a timely manner, it is time to walk. In addition, you need someone who can deal with you and your idiosyncrasies. Some of us are needier then others. You want to let companies know up front where you stand, and make sure they’re willing to be flexible for you.

3 – Termination of your Agreement: In the event that your “relationship” does not work out, you want to know up front what exactly it will take to terminate your agreement. Is there a charge for breaking your contract? Penalties?

4 – Repairs and Maintenance: Does the company have their own maintenance crew, or do they contract out to a handyman? How much do they bill out at? Can they handle all kinds of repairs? What happens if they can’t do something? Do they have other contractors that they work with?

In addition, you probably want to have a maximum that the company can spend without contacting you. Generally, I will allow my managers to do what they need to as long as it is for something under $100. I must confirm any expenses over that.

If you are a bit more of a control person, you can also request invoices/reciepts for expenses.

5 – Monthly Statements: Does the company send out monthly or quarterly statements. I wouldn’t deal with anyone that does not provide monthly income/expense statements.

6 – Evictions: How does the company handle evictions? What are the costs to evict?

7 – Yard Work: How much do they bill yard work out at? Landscaping? Do they handle snow removal? Mow lawns? How much does each cost?

8 – Reserves: What kind of reserve does the company require? The reserves are used in case anything comes up. Most managers will require a certain amount.

9 – Accounting: When will the manager mail your check to you? Beginning of the month? State laws usually dictate accounting rules for managers, but you wo want to know all of this up front. Tenant Deposits: How do they handle deposits? Are they comingled, or simply put together with all other income for your account?

10 – Vacancies: I’ve actually interviewed companies that will charge you 1/2 a month’s rent to fill vacancies in your property. I quickly ended my interview with these people. There is no reason to pay this fee, since many managers don’t need to charge it. You will need to fill your vacancies, so you will need some advertising done . . .

11 – Advertising: Where do they advertise properties? Are for rent signs put on the property’s lawn? Do they advertise in the paper? Online? There are quite a few effective places to advertise properties for free, online. Do they use these? In addition, you want your property advertised effectively. Do they have the basic HTML skills to add images to their for rent ads online? This makes a huge difference, trust me.

12 – Section 8: Do they have experience dealing with section 8 properties / tenants? Do they know what is entailed with such properties?

I also like to know how many properties they manage, how many managers work at the company, what specific areas they focus on, how long they have been in the business, and other questions about their experience. This should be a good start to get you going.
By Joyce Dent,  Tue Feb 22 2011, 08:22
What Folks With Great Credit Scores Do Right!!

What do folks who not only want to improve their credit score, but want to get it to the highest possible range need to do? Before you make a move, you first need to know the most important information used from your credit report in determining your score. Check out MyFico.com for more detail on what make up your credit score.

Here are the two things that account for two-thirds of your credit score:

Your payment history: Having a long history of making payments on time on all types of credit accounts is one of the most important items lenders consider before approving you for a loan.

Owed versus available credit: This compares the amount you owe versus the total amount of credit available. Your credit score can be lower when you use more than 50 percent of your available credit for each account. That's because when you are close to maxing out on all of your credit limits, lenders see you as a higher risk and more likely to make late payments in the near future.

There are three other factors that account for about a third of your credit score:

Length of credit history: In general, a credit report containing a list of accounts opened for at least 10 years or more will help your credit score. The score considers your oldest active account and the average age of all accounts.

New credit: Opening several new credit accounts in a short period of time can lower your credit score. Also multiple credit report inquiries may be seen as risky credit behavior on the near horizon, and can therefore lower your credit score. But "soft credit inquiries," which include requests made by you, an employer or by a lender who "pre-screens" or "pre-approves," have little or no impact. Also, multiple inquiries by automobile and mortgage lenders over a 30-day period count as just one inquiry, so shopping the lenders to get the best rate should not hurt your score.

Type of credit you use: Your mix of credit cards, retail accounts, finance company loans and mortgage loans is considered.

Your credit score ignores your age, salary and occupation. It also does not take into account financial gifts, support you receive, or your financial assets. For this reason, credit scores are less important for borrowers who seek loans that take these factors into account.

If you want to take action to increase your credit score, then take a look at folks with the highest credit scores. About 13 percent of folks have credit scores of 800 or higher. If you look at their credit profile, they have:

• four to six credit card accounts,
• no late payments in the past seven years,
• at least one installment loan -- a mortgage or a car loan -- with excellent payment history,
• an average of 10 years credit history per account and a few accounts with 20 years of good history,
• a low number of credit inquiries (fewer than three in the past six months),
• no bankruptcies, foreclosures, charge-offs or collections, and
• debt levels at no more than 35 percent of their overall credit limits per account.

The bottom line: Having a long history of making all payments on time, using the right mix of credit, and not maxing out on available credit are the keys to a having a great credit score.
By Joyce Dent,  Wed Feb 23 2011, 08:20
HomePath Loan or FHA Loan?

For many years, when it comes to buying a home, the FHA loan program has been one of the most popular choices for people. But with the downturn in the real estate and with the rising number of homes being owned by lenders (including Fannie Mae), the Fannie Mae HomePath loan program is getting increasingly popular with home buyers.
Fannie Mae HomePath Mortgage Program: Advantages

The HomePath Mortgage Program was created by Fannie Mae because of the large number of homes that are owned by Fannie Mae and their desire to sweeten the financing offer to entice home buyers to buy them. Some of the things that Fannie Mae did with the HomePath loan program actually make it a more attractive option than an FHA loan. There are three main advantages of a HomePath loan over an FHA loan: a smaller down payment,
Fannie Mae HomePath Loans: Smaller Down Payment

The HomePath loan program requires less money for your downpayment – and let’s face it, when you are buying a home every dollar you can save on a down payment can go to other things like furniture, repairs or moving costs. The HomePath mortgage requires a minimum down payment of 3% versus 3.5% required for an FHA mortgage and both of the loan programs allow the down payment to be “given” to you under approved circumstances.
HomePath Mortgages Require No PMI

PMI stands for Private Mortgage Insurance. Mortgage insurance is generally required for conventional loans that have less than 80% loan-to-value. With FHA loans, they also require mortgage insurance. With the Fannie Mae HomePath mortgage program, no PMI / mortgage insurance is required. Because PMI is not required on a HomePath loan, expect a monthly payment with a HomePath loan to be less than with an FHA loan or conventional loan with less than 80% loan-to-value.
HomePath Loans: No Appraisal Required

When buying a new house, virtually all loan programs require that you get an appraisal from a certified appraiser to prove the homes value. Not with the HomePath loan program: there is no appraisal required on a HomePath loan.

When financing a home, both the FHA loan program and the HomePath loan program are great options – but if it comes down to a situation where you have a choice between the two, most people seem to agree that the HomePath loan program saves them money.

Tagged as: fannie mae home path, fannie mae home path mortgage, fannie mae homepath, fannie mae homepath mortgage, home path loan, home path mortgage, homepath loan, homepath mortgage
By Joyce Dent,  Thu Feb 24 2011, 06:25
3 Rookie Mistakes When Buying Foreclosed Homes

If you have been thinking about jumping on the foreclosed homes bandwagon and making some pretty good money off of these homes then it may seem like a simple process. Get a foreclosed home listing, make an offer close to the listed price and cash in.

Unfortunately as with anything in life it is not quite that simple. The great news is that while you probably won’t make big money all that easily with some hard work and a little knowledge you can cash in on one of the hottest foreclosed homes markets we have ever seen. The key is to avoid 3 of the big mistakes many new investors make when setting out on making their fortune in real estate investing.

Mistake 1 – Using the bank’s sale price. Many new investors often use the bank’s price on a foreclosure listing as a method to decide what they will offer for the home. Here is a common scenario, take the banks listing price on the foreclosure and reduce it 30% to make an offer. While this is a simple method and appears you are sure to get a deal there is one problem. The bank’s listing price may or may not have anything to do with the value of the home.

I recommend that you completely ignore what the foreclosed home is listed for and only use your own due diligence to analyze the deal. First you should calculate the market value, then take into account any repairs needed and lastly build in your profit. This should be the only offer you should make on a bank owned home, or any other home for investing purposes for that matter.

Mistake 2 – Get your deals from one source. Yes I know you have a full time job and family commitments so you don’t have time to work with a bunch of different sources to get your foreclosed homes listings. So you go out and find a Realtor that is willing to pull foreclosures from the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) for you and you are done.

For whatever reason this just doesn’t work. You will not get every deal right when you need them from this method. Instead you need to work with multiple sources to find foreclosed homes. My best recommendation is to work with a buyer’s agent to search foreclosures for you but you must also go to the source, the banks themselves and REO (Real Estate Owned) brokers who list these foreclosed homes for the bank. In this case the more the merrier.

Mistake 3 – Having no exit strategy. I keep hearing over and over again that you make money when you buy the home. Try that out once and then check your bank statement, you will find this is not true. You might create value when you buy the home well below market value but my checking account has never grown until I sold the home. Before you even begin to look at foreclosed homes start by knowing what your exit strategy is.

The type of home you are looking for will vary greatly depending on whether you plan to fix and sell the home, fix and rent it, fix and lease option it or just wholesale it to another investor. Once you have at least one exit strategy you are going to commit to then you can narrow your search for foreclosed homes and choose the ones that are right for you.

Today, right now is the best time to work the foreclosed home market. Foreclosure listings are reaching all time highs and the banks are feeling the pain of the REO inventory. Keep in mind that buying a home for investment purposes is a serious matter and you need to have a serious plan in place to profit from it. Avoid these 3 mistakes when investing in your foreclosed home and you will be one step closer to profiting from foreclosures.
By Maura Mcdonnell,  Fri Feb 25 2011, 08:27
Nice work. Informative info
By Joyce Dent,  Fri Feb 25 2011, 08:33
Thanks for visiting Maura McDonnell and am happy the information was helpful!!!
By Joyce Dent,  Fri Feb 25 2011, 08:41
Help Me Reach My First 100 vIEWerS BY VISTING MY bLOG AND wEB pAGE!!!
THANKS fOr tHe lOVE AnD SuPPort...nOw LeTs MakE iT HaPpEN, cAPtAIN #tag&Ur~iT
By Joe Cafiero,  Fri Feb 25 2011, 08:48
Joyce. Good information on the HomePath product. I think it should be mentioned that with the 3% down option, your rate is going to be much higher than a FHA loan. Could easily be a full percent even with stellar credit. On a $200k loan the Homepath would still be about $35 cheaper but that is only until the PMI goes away. And that is with 740+ FICO scores. When you start talking about credti scores under 720 and that savings disappears. Just like any program out there, pros and cons to each. Important to sit down with a experienced mortgage professional to see all the options
By Joyce Dent,  Fri Feb 25 2011, 08:50
What Are Section 8 Rentals And Are They Right For Your Property?

If you are a landlord or property manager in the United States, then learning about section 8 rentals is crucial for expanding your possible pool of tenants. Find out what the section 8 program is all about and whether you will benefit from joining it.

So What Exactly is the Section 8 Program?

The section 8 program is basically a government aid scheme which is set up to help people with lower income with their rental bills.

The government will be paying a sizable portion of their monthly rent by giving section 8 tenants housing vouchers. These vouchers will usually pay for 60% to 70% of the monthly rent while the tenant will have to fork out money for the rest. That's why the section 8 program is also known as the housing choice voucher program.

When you apply to join the section 8 program as a landlord, the section 8 agency will send a home inspector over to make sure that your rental property meets their health and safety codes.

As a section 8 landlord, you cannot freely set your rent - The government will decide what is the fair market rate for your rental property.

What are the Benefits of Being a Section 8 Landlord?

One big benefit of joining the section 8 program is that you will expose your rental property to a larger pool of possible low wage tenants. If your rental property generally appeals to people with less disposable income, joining the section 8 program will help you find a suitable tenant more quickly and easily.

Another attractive point of being a section 8 landlord that a good part of your rent will be taken care of by the government. No matter what happens you will have more than half of your rent firmly in hand.

Even if your tenant does not pay you his rent, you can still claim your loss of rent from the government after evicting him. If your tenant caused damage to your property, the government will also foot the repair bills for you.

As you see, having section 8 rentals is an effective way to reduce your risk of financial loss from non payment of rent.

What are the Drawbacks for Having Section 8 Rentals?

All section 8 rentals have to be signed for 1 year. You are not allowed to have a week to week or month to month tenancy with your renters. If you plan to sell your rental property in the near future or you don't want to tie yourself down with a long term lease, then the section 8 program is not right for you.

As I have already mentioned, your rental property has to pass the section 8 home inspections before you are allowed to accept tenants from the program. The problem is that the section 8 health and safety standards are stricter in some areas and you may have to spend more money on property maintenance.

Another unpopular rule of the section 8 program is not you are not allowed to set your own rents. The section 8 agency will decide on what is the market value of your rental property. This restriction will usually lower the amount of your rent you can charge.
Teo Zhenjie has been showing landlords how to manage their tenants and rental properties effectively on Property do ( http://www.propertydo.com/ ). Visit his website today for step-by-step real estate guides, free resources and forms. Click here for more important tips on Section 8 rentals: http://www.propertydo.com/types-of-tenancy.html
By Joyce Dent,  Fri Feb 25 2011, 10:19
Your So Right Joe Cafiero, thanks for the inform !!!!!1
By Mr.j.d. Gregg,  Fri Feb 25 2011, 21:04
Hello Ms Dent just stoping by to show you some business to business love,I hope all your goals go above&beyond your dreams "3G" {Haters when all else fails Tri-God} peace
By Joyce Dent,  Sat Feb 26 2011, 23:42
aaawww, so sweet! Thanks for the kind words its greatly accepted and appreciated!!!

a cage bird dont get tweets ~ @uniquestarr101~ #twitter
By Robert Horne,  Mon Feb 28 2011, 07:55
Very informative and educational. Thanks ALfredia lilly
By Joyce Dent,  Mon Feb 28 2011, 15:25
thanks for the love and support Alfredia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By Joyce Dent,  Mon Feb 28 2011, 16:27
Am currently looking for Agents/Brokers in Northeast Philadelphia and
West/Southwest Philadelphia for Sales/Rentals Referral Opportunities......plz sent email to : justjluck@yahoo.com
By Joyce Dent,  Tue Mar 1 2011, 10:24
Selling Your Investment Property Using A Lease Option Agreement !!!

Real Estate investors love to throw around esoteric terminology, like “irrevocable land trust,” and "lease-option agreement," but that doesn’t mean they have a clue how to actually use them. Like all methods of sale, lease-options are a viable option for some situations, but should merely be one more wrench in your real estate sales toolbox.

The definition itself is basic enough: a lease-option agreement is a rental agreement that provides the tenant an option to purchase the property, within a specific term of time. Simple stuff, right?

However, consider this: lease-option agreements don’t obligate the tenant to buy the property (the way a contract of sale does), but does obligate the landlord to sell. Why would this be a good idea for the landlord/seller?

Well, in a seller’s market that’s rapidly appreciating, it’s not beneficial at all to the seller.

But in a slow market, where buyers rule, it can be an easy and inexpensive way to sell a rental property without paying carrying costs for months on end while the property sits vacant on the market.

As far as where to find a lease-option agreement, some city/town governments offer them to the public for free on their websites, and of course there are many private companies who also offer them online. For an example, the EZ Landlord Forms website below offers a custom lease option agreement for each state.

Before you sign or offer a lease-option agreement, it would be prudent to make sure your tenant/buyer will qualify for a mortgage loan. You should review their credit, income, and employment history (all of which you should be doing anyway in the tenant-screening process). Most of all though, don’t ever assume that a tenant will actually succeed in buying the property from you, regardless of what they tell you. Lease-options are one more way of selling real estate, but only for sellers who have the time, capital and patience to assume the responsibilities of a landlord.
( http://www.ezlandlordforms.com/articles/ ).
a cage bird dont get tweets ~ @uniquestarr101~ #twitter
By Imnotawitch,  Tue Jul 24 2012, 05:52
Well Section 8 and having the government tell you how to rent ... may be an option for some. But say your Sec 8 tenant doesn't come up with the rest of the rent, or vacates entirely? Sure the govt makes up your loss but ... how long will it take to recover? Can you imagine waiting for a Washington DC decision and check? The millions of landlords who are in Sec 8 waiting as well?

Think LONG and HARD before doing this.

also think of the property value if you have a condo or townhouse ... how many other sec 8 tenants are there and will that affect street value?

The govt giveth and the govt taketh away ...

I'm just sayin ...
By wisdomtreasures,  Fri Nov 9 2012, 07:05
Hi Mrs. Dent. I visited your blog a while ago, and then and now I can say thank you for creating a site that is great featuring up to date information. I will be sure to revisit and the future when I plan to buy my first home, and also will make sure to let anyone in the real estate interest to be sure to look your way for helpful input. Thanks a million again. God bless. Nicole Manning.
By Syndee Lee,  Tue May 14 2013, 07:43
Thanks Mrs. Dent for all your experiential education! So many have benefitted from your wisdom and so many more will!

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