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First-Time Condo Buyer? What to Expect from Your New Homeowners AssociationEvery owner of condominium property automatically becomes a member of a homeowners association, otherwise referred to a "HOA" throughout the United States or a "Strata" in Canada. With that membership come certain rights and responsibilities. The primary right that the owner has is to vote at HOA meetings and elect board members. Responsibilities include payment of condo fees and assessments, compliance with association by-laws and rules, and maintaining a condo unit in conformity with those by-laws and rules.

Click here to search condo properties now for free in the MLS. 

Let's take a quick look at various other terms you may hear about from your new HOA.

Declaration of Condominium and By-Laws

The declaration of condominium establishes the existence of a condominium property. It gives the precise location of the property through a legal description and describes each individual unit in the development along with the various common elements.

Individual Units

Ownership of an individual condominium unit is defined by the declaration of condominium and ordinarily consists of the interior walls and everything within the interior walls of a dwelling unit. Anything outside of that unit is usually considered to be a common element, such as the entryway, the swimming pool, the tennis courts, the parking lots and more.

Common Elements

This is property both inside and outside of buildings that the individual condo owner has an undivided interest in. It would include any common hallways, garages, parking lots, recreational facilities and open space on the property described by the declaration of condominium. If for example, there are 100 units in a condominium development, each individual unit has an undivided one percent interest in the common elements.

Running a Homeowners Association

Homeowners associations tend to operate like a small democracy. When matters are brought up at meetings to be voted on, each condo unit has one vote. Each HOA has an elected board of directors. They'll meet once a month to decide on association business and make decisions on behalf of the HOA. The unit owners are permitted to be present at these meetings.

Owners' Responsibilities Inside Their Units

Owners are responsible for any repairs within the walls of their dwelling unit. They might be responsible for damage to other units from leaks or flooding from a burst pipe. Depending on the by-laws, the unit owner might be responsible for maintenance or repairs of any pipes or electrical wires running behind their walls. The association is responsible for anything on the common elements.

Don't let the purchase of your next home get derailed. If you're thinking of getting started on condo shopping, your trusted, reputable and highly experienced real estate professional will guide you through your condominium purchase.

"Home Buying Made Easier"

by Turner Real Estate Group

Turner Real Estate Group strives to bring St. Tammany Parish the latest in real estate news first. That's why we're excited to announce buying a home in Mandeville, Covington, Abita Springs, Madisonville and Slidell has never been easier!

  • 3% Down Conventional Loan
  • No Monthly PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance)
  • Borrower Must Be a First-Time Home Buyer or Hasn't Owned a Home in the Last 3 Years
  • Down Payment Can Be a Gift from a Family Member
  • Seller May Pay All Closing Costs & Prepaids

Give us a call today at 985-626-1313 and we will guide you through the process of getting pre-approved! This is a great opportunity for potential home buyers.

For a FREE list of Mandeville real estate click here, for Covington real estate click here, or for Slidell real estate click here. To customize your own search click here.

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - December 15, 2014

by Wayne Turner

Although there were few scheduled economic events related to mortgages and housing, last week brought an article about housing projections for 2015. Other news included increased job openings along with lower than expected jobless claims and higher mortgage rates.

Job Openings, Retail Sales and Mortgage Rates Rise

The U.S. Department of Commerce reported that November job increased to 4.80 million as compared to October's reading of 4.70 million job openings. Weekly jobless claims corresponded as new claims fell to 294,000 as compared to the prior week's reading of 297,000 new jobless claims. This was the lowest reading for new jobless claims in three weeks. Analysts had expected a reading of 206,000 new jobless claims.

Further signs of economic strengthening were seen in the retail sector. Retail sales posted their strongest gains in eight months with a gain of 0.70 percent in November according to the Commerce Department. November's reading exceeded expectations of a 0.40 percent increase which was based on October's original reading of a 0.30 percent increase in retail sales. November's retail sales (excluding automotive sales) rose by 0.50 percent, which was the highest reading since June. October's reading was later revised to 0.50 percent. Automotive sales rose by 1.70 percent in November, which was their highest reading since August.

Amidst last week's economic gains, mortgage rates also rose. Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 3.93 percent, a gain of four basis points over the previous week. The average rate 15-year mortgage gained 10 basis points at 3.20 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose by four basis points to 2.94 percent. Average discount points for all three loan types remained steady at 0.50 percent.

Analysts Offer Housing Predictions for 2015

Fortune reported predictions made by analysts during a panel discussion on housing trends. David M. Blitzer, chairman of the S& P Index Committee, characterized next year's housing trends as "mysterious." Analysts pinpointed the influence of the millennial generation as gaining strength in housing markets. As millennials begin to buy their first homes, their tastes and preferences are expected to overshadow the long-held influence of the baby boomer generation. Millennial influence includes a trend called millennial mis-match; Millennials prefer to live in high-cost areas including New York City, Honolulu, Hawaii and Austin, Texas, but their status as first-time home buyers conflicts with this preference. Other trends discussed by analysts attending the panel discussion included:

Mortgage rates predicted to rise: Stronger economic conditions and no Federal stimulus are expected to contribute to rising mortgage rates, which some analysts said were expected to rise to approximately 5.00 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage.

Home price growth and affordability expected to decline: Home prices gained 6.40 percent year-over-year in October 2014 as compared to growth of 10.60 percent for the same period in 2013. High demand for homes in pricey markets coupled with rising mortgage rates are expected to price the middle class out of many high-demand markets.

What's Ahead

This week's scheduled economic events include the Wells Fargo/National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index report for December and the Commerce Department's December report on Housing Starts. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve will release its customary statement after its meeting concludes on Wednesday. The FOMC statement will be followed by a press conference given by Fed chair Janet Yellen, who also chairs the FOMC.

RD No Longer Requires Flood Elevation

by Turner Real Estate Group

The Rural Development (RD) loan is a popular financing choice for first-time home buyers in St. Tammany Parish as it allows buyers to purchase real estate with $0 down payment. In the past RD was restricted to certain areas of the parish, typically out of flood zones and in rural areas. However, that has all changed.

RD guidelines now allow for properties in St. Tammany regardless of flood zone to qualify for financing. Flood elevation certificates are no longer needed. The old rules only apply for new construction properties; these properties have to be built at a certain flood elevation anyway to meet building codes, so they automatically meet requirements for that reason.

This is how the new guideline effects home buyers. For example, homes in south Slidell in flood zone "A" didn't qualify for RD financing previously. The most cost effective way to purchase them was through FHA financing which is 3.5% down. That is a $4,200 down payment on a home costing $120,000. Now that same home can be purchased through RD financing with $0 down payment. This is a huge savings for anyone, but especially those first-time home buyers. It is also a great selling tool for those sellers in areas that previously didn't qualify for RD. This is a great incentive to get your home listed on the market ASAP!

We at Turner Real Estate Group can negotiate the closing costs and pre-paids so that the seller covers it at closing. This means you the buyer can purchase a home with as little as $500 out of pocket. This is cheaper than renting! Don't pay someone else's mortgage - let your money go towards your own equity! Call us today and start packing... 985-626-1313.

Size matters when you are buying a new home. Whether you plan to expand your family, need more room for your stuff, or are concerned with resale value, you want to get the most space for your money. Also, if you want to add a feel of luxury to your home, one of the best ways to do it is to create open spaces rather than cramming all your furniture in rooms so tiny you can barely walk around without knocking something over.

Search Luxury North Shore Homes HERE! 

Traditionally speaking, the larger a home is, the more it costs. If there are two newly built houses side by side in a subdivision, the bigger one is likely to cost more. However, there are some tricks to finding spacious houses that are affordable.

Choose Emerging Neighborhoods

Houses in this year's trending neighborhood are at their peak prices. Clever buyers look for neighborhoods that are in the process of being gentrified, buying at the bottom rather than the top of the market, to get more house for their money.

Fix It Up

Houses in perfect condition, that show well, sell for a premium. If you want to get more house for your money, choose something that needs a bit of TLC. A house that has pink walls and orange shag carpet might appear just too ugly to consider when you first view it, but it might just need a few coats of paint and some new carpet to become a spacious dream home.

Do Some Finishing

Unfinished areas such as attics and basements can be finished to create additional living spaces. The basement could become a family room and the attic an extra bedroom or study. An unfinished space can become the extra bathroom you need to make morning more manageable.

Consider an Addition

Contractors can add rooms to a house. If you have a large lot, you can build an extra wing. With a one story ranch house, it may be possible to raise the roof and add a second story.

The more stuff you have, the smaller your home appears. Reduce clutter and invest in smaller condo size furniture to give even the smallest home the appearance of spaciousness. Call an experienced real estate professional if you want to find your spacious luxury home at a bargain-basement price.

 

Whether you're buying a ski-in/ski-out condo at your favorite resort or you're thinking of picking up a small home in a busy tourist area, buying a property for short-term rental purposes can be an excellent investment that quickly begins to provide additional revenue.

Let's take a quick look at a few steps that you can take to maximize the revenue that your investment properties bring in each month.

Click here for see more tips for investment properties.

Click here to browse the MLS for free. 

Upgrade Your Home to Give It a Luxurious Feel

It should go without saying that if you want your home to rent for a high price it has to have a significant amount of value behind it. After you purchase the home, spend some time on upgrades that help to enhance the home's beauty and usability. If possible each sofa should be a sofa-bed so that additional guests can stay the night. Upgrade the televisions, have Wi-Fi internet access available and provide a phone number that guests can call if anything goes awry.

Professional Photos and Copywriting

If you're renting your property out to short-term or vacationing tenants you're most likely going to use online services like VRBO, HomeAway or AirBnB to attract new business. While these sites have a lot of visitor traffic you're also going to face a high level of competition from other property owners in the area. It's worth paying a professional photographer to take pictures of your home as well as having a professional copywriter handle the sales copy for your listing. These are one-time costs that can help you to defeat your competition and close high-ticket clients.

Cater to Large Groups or a Niche Crowd

There are a number of "niche" travelers out there and if you can cater to these groups you'll find that you're able to charge more than the average vacation property. For example, you may be buying a home in a popular wedding destination that can be marketed to couples who are being married. If you're buying a larger 3 or 4 bedroom home, be sure to note that it can house large groups who may be traveling together.

Referrals and Repeat Business

Finally, don't forget to ask your clients to refer you to their friends and family who many want to stay in your unit, and always invite them to return in the future. You may want to consider offering a discount to repeat visitors to encourage them to visit annually.

Renting out your vacation home or investment property can provide a lucrative income stream as long as you have a professional approach and focus on providing a high level of customer service. When you're ready to start shopping for the perfect investment properties, contact me at 985-626-1313.

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6

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Turner Real Estate Group - 111 N. Causeway Blvd., Suite 101, Mandeville, LA 70448.  985-626-1313. 
Broker licensed in Louisiana and Tennessee. Sales Associates licensed in Louisiana.
Mandeville Real Estate - Covington Real Estate - Slidell Real Estate