Living in Thailand After Retirement

My husband and I met when we were on separate vacations in Thailand. It was love at first sight for both of us, and thankfully we lived close enough to each other to where we could have a proper courtship. That was nearly 30 years ago, and we are going back to where our love story started. Before we retired several months ago, we looked at the best real estate agency in Koh Samui Thailand. We had been back to Thailand on holiday at least once every couple of years, so we knew exactly where we wanted to live once we did retire.

We were able to look at several properties online that were just perfect for us. I knew that we would not have a problem finding exactly what we wanted because the entire area is just filled with awesome properties and beautiful houses. The overall scenery is just perfect too, and we were able to narrow it down to the one we wanted easily enough. It is located right in Koh Samui, and it feels and looks like it could have been custom made for the two of us. Continue reading “Living in Thailand After Retirement”

Echo Park Real Estate: A Look at the Numbers

From LA’s earliest days, people have wanted to live in the storied neighborhoods of NELA. In a densely populated area where residents are always in the process of coming and going, there are always homes for sale in Echo Park at any given time. Since the early 1920’s, the real estate here has been in demand and that is how it is today. Why? Let’s take a closer look and see what the numbers say.

This is an eclectic city located in Central Los Angeles about ten minutes from Downtown. At the center of the city is the renowned Echo Park Lake in Elysian Park, which is the site of special events like the Lotus Festival. It is northwest of Chinatown and Downtown, northeast of Westlake and south east of Silver Lake.

It is split in to four districts:

  • Angelino Heights – This area is known for the beautiful Victorian homes that are preserved by the city’s ordinances.
  • Elysian Heights – This area is historically known for being the home of famous counter-culture artists, filmmakers, architects and political radicals.
  • Historic Filipino town – This section is located in the southwest section.
  • Victor Heights – A lovely area scattered with Bungalows and Stucco homes that share breathtaking views of Los Angeles and the Civic Center.

Throughout the four districts, the most common types of homes are Bungalows, Cottages, Victorians and Stuccos. According to the 2000 U.S. Census there were 40,455 people in there. Spread over 2.4 square miles there were approximately 16,868 people per square mile. This makes Echo Park one of the highest density areas in Los Angeles County. The median household income was $37,708, which is low for Los Angeles County. The average household size was 3.0, which is average for the county.

This city has a high Walk Score of 83/100. This means that most errands can be accomplished on foot within the city. This city’s transit score is 62. This city has good transit and provides its residents with many public transportation options. These include the Metro Red and Metro Purple Line, numerous bus routes and ride sharing options from Relay Rides. This city received a bike score of 49 because of the steep hills and minimal bike lanes.

According to Zillow, the average home value in Echo Park is $795,100. This value has increased 14.4% since last year and Zillow estimates it will continue to rise 4.3% to $829,000 over the next year. The average price of homes that are currently listed is $742,450. The median list price per square foot is $618, which is higher than the Los Angeles average of $451. The average rental price is $2,967 a month. Zillow has given the Market Health a score of 8.2/10, which is very healthy in comparison to other markets across the country. This is based on a series of metrics including how fast the homes are selling compared to the past rate. Echo Park’s prime location and thrilling culture will be sure to keep the housing market rolling for many years to come.

Affordable Housing for the Middle Class

“What does affordable housing in Gurgaon, with its high-lifestyle, urbanization, and posh-societies look like?” You may think, given that Residential Flats varies in its meaning for different demographic profiles. Especially in the Indian real estate market, affordable housing has a connotation for housing for the lower income group (LIG), by which they too can enjoy a comfortable living and security. With the incumbent government’s focus on this section and more on the affordable housing, it seems like the real estate sector has been able to get the boost that it had been waiting for of late.

However, there is an important trend that needs to be taken note of before the government claims that its affordable housing project is a success. The term affordable housing, in different contexts, also has a local meaning. According to this, affordable housing includes housing options for a segment of population that can become potential home buyers in a city. If we take this definition into consideration, there is a sizeable population in every city, which although it will not identify with or fall under the LIG, is equally incapable of allotting a large budget for buying homes. It is not only sensitive and cost-wary but is looking forward to finding a house of a decent budget-size within the realms of the city. A typical example is of the residential flats in Gurgaon, which although are well-furnished, but do not still fall under the budget for the middle class.

When we take this population’s demands and needs a little more seriously, we find that there is a dearth of properties in good locations within the city, which buyers can afford. These buyers often have a budget of INR 30-40 lakhs, but more cities including Delhi NCR have a deficit in properties which match this budget range. Usually properties which are around INR 20 lakhs are still on the outskirts lacking good transportation and other facilities required by the urban middle class. This means that there is indeed a requirement for more housing under the affordable housing section, where different demographic profiles can find properties for themselves.

There is an urgent need for developers to come up with budget housing projects in the larger cities. As modern India moves towards development and rising aspirations, affordable housing and the security that comes with it, is increasing. This appears to be a very high opportunity for developers who can count on a boost in the real estate industry. More absorption of the housing projects in the urban cities is also a strong indicator of the socioeconomic growth in the country, thereby projecting a positive image. While the demand is strong and only increasing, there are a lot of policy-level changes that need to be introduced.

Not only will the affordable housing for the middle class prove to be a sustainable business model for the future, it will also allow more cities to come up to ranks. More affordable housing projects will assure developers that they do not struggle with inflation or even setbacks in the economy. Another trend that one needs to channelize is that more real estate investors are now eyeing budget and affordable housing projects. Where luxury homes and premium homes find it hard to make it through a rough economy, affordable housing is still on the move. The healthy demand in addition with more money coming in steady from investors means a healthy micro-economy. It is now time for builders and the government to give this proposition a try, ensuring that the overall development of the country happens throughout.

Gurgaon based real estate company’s residential flats in Gurgaon include their massive projects of Solera (Sector 107), Synera (Sector 81, NH8) Andour Heights (Sector 71), Orchard Avenue (Sector 93), Grand Iva (Sector 103), Roselia (Sector 95A), Serenas (Sector 36) and The Millennia (Sector 37D). At present, Gurgaon based real estate company’s Signum project offers retail shops in Gurugram in sector 36, 95A, 93, 103, 71, 81, and 107.

Strategies for Improved Efficacy of Construction Project Management Software

The ever-changing digital technology is gradually making life on earth easier and less hassle-free. Benefits of digitization encompass the construction industry as well. These days, a range of efficient construction project management software is readily available to make things easier for those, who are involved with the industry.

The assortment of software applications comes with many innovative features that help managing:

 All communication with your subcontractors and crew

  • Every electronic correspondence
  • Project schedules
  • Budget estimation
  • Timesheets
  • Site photos and much more

Extra spadework is required

However, if you’re planning to get such a helpful software tool to drive your projects to successful completion, here’s a word of caution! Just procuring construction project management software will not help you achieve your goal. After all, it’s not any magic wand that will do wonders. You need to do some extra spadework, like preparing a foolproof plan, regularly monitoring the work progress, facilitating personal interaction with both the stakeholders and team members. Moreover, it is important to take care of the cash flow to ensure your project(s) wind up on time. To put it in simple words, the more efficient you’re in handling your responsibilities in the construction industry, the more efficiency you can expect from the range of software tools.
The core competencies
Now, at this juncture you must be wondering if there’s any core competence of the modern software tools. As far as the building and construction industry is concerned, project management software applications help you in the following ways:

  • Accessing critical information right at your fingertips
  • Having everyone on the same plane, so that there’s no missed information or error
  • Alternative plans ready at hand to keep the workflow moving
  • Ensuring systematic progress of every project right from the word ‘go’
  • Facilitating communication with the peers, colleagues, stakeholders and team members even from remote locations

Considering all these benefits the range of software offers, it’s obvious that there’s hardly any necessity to rework on a module. Thus, project management software helps successful winding up of construction projects right within scheduled deadlines.

Just like any other commercial sphere, the construction industry too expects you to thread in the latest version of technology to achieve greater heights of success faster. However, you should have realistic expectations from technology to help your business grow bigger. Use the web to update your knowledge pool about the benefits these virtual resources offer. This will help you stay at-par with the best performers in the industry.

The 4 Benefits of Fix and Flip Loans

Buying a real estate property, repairing and selling it quickly tends to be a profitable recipe. However, a key component of this recipe to success is access to capital. If one does not have sufficient funds but is interested in rehabbing a property, a hard money lender who offers a fix and flip loans could be a great financing option. These loans are structured in such a way that allow a purchaser to quickly acquire the property and have access to a reserve of funds for construction and renovation costs.

Buying a real estate property, repairing and selling it quickly tends to be a profitable recipe.

Advantages of Fix and Flip Loans

There are many advantages to fix and flip loans and the demand for this source of funding is steadily increasing in the real estate investment industry.

Four key benefits include:

  • Quick Approval: Getting approved for a fix and flip loan is a far quicker process when compared against the traditional banking system. If the borrower has submitted the requested documents, a private lender can approve the loan within a couple of days whereas a traditional financial institution can take at least a month. In addition to the significant longer wait time for bank loan approvals, the borrower will be required to submit numerous documents and clear multiple conditions as part of the process.
  • Any Property: Properties in varying states of the condition can qualify for a fix and flip loans. Whether the property is bank owned, a short sale, a foreclosure, or in a dilapidated state, a borrower is still likely to find a hard money lender willing to fund the deal. Once again, a borrower may not have the option of funding these types of real estate opportunities with a bank. Banks are very risk averse and have strict rules in place as to what type of property they can accept as part of their loan portfolio.
  • Zero Prepayment Penalties: If you take out a loan from an established bank, you may be hit with penalties should you have the opportunity to pay the loan off before the maturation date. This is called a prepayment penalty. Most fix and flip lenders will not subject you to this fee.
  • Repairs Covered: When you buy a property with the intention to flip it, a significant portion of your budget will be spent on construction and renovation costs. A fix and flip lender will usually set up a loan reserve which will cover repair costs of the property in addition to interest. This can alleviate a lot of stress and pressure for builders and developers since they don’t have to worry about spending money out of pocket for repairs or payments.

Teaming up with a solid lender who understands your property, the local real estate market, and is willing to help you throughout the acquisition, construction and selling process is vital. When choosing a hard money lender, keep the following in mind:

  • The lender must have sufficient experience in the industry. A private lender that has deep roots in the real estate investment market will not only be able to offer you a better deal but will also have numerous contacts that will prove helpful along the way – from recommended settlement companies, to permit expediters and other preferred vendors. This can prove to be a great asset as speed, quality and efficiency is the name of the game in the fix and flip world. The less time you need to spend vetting companies and contractors is more money in your pocket.
  • Check the history of the lenders to ensure that they are genuine and have a good track record. It may be worth taking a closer look at lenders that tempt borrowers with “teaser rates” or a “no documents” underwriting process. As with most things in life, if it seems too good to be true – it usually is.
  • Finally, you should check out what previous or current customers have to say. Is the lender responsive and knowledgeable? How many loans do they have on the street? Do they have good ratings on Google or the BBB? Just as the lender performs due diligence on their borrowers, the borrowers should, in turn, conduct due diligence on the hard money lender. It’s a partnership and both parties need to be solid and committed to the process in order to ensure success.

Altadena, CA Is a City on the Rise

In close proximity to the highly successful City of Pasadena, Altadena is gaining some well-earned respect reflected in its home values.

With the region north east of Downtown Los Angeles – the most western area of what is termed the San Gabriel Valley – neighborhoods and entire cities are on the rise. Nowhere is this clearer today than in Altadena, CA. Homes in Altadena are being restored to their original luster and Altadena real estate is through the roof when it comes to home values.

A friend of mine owned one of those 1920’s storybook Mediterranean-style homes with a red tile roof up in Altadena. It was perched on top of a knoll and nestled among mature trees. Rainbow colored bougainvillea vines spilled off the rooftop. Sitting in the breakfast nook, one could marvel at the San Gabriel mountain range from its French windows. The house had plaster walls that met the ceiling in a curve. The floors were constructed of large wooden planks, giving the place a kind of Greek Island art studio feel. An idyllic setting for those looking to get away from it all, the neighborhood of Altadena is located just North of its big city sister, Pasadena.

Just being in close proximity to gorgeous Pasadena – of Rose Parade fame – has never been enough to create the real estate buzz that Altadena has longed for until now. After all, Pasadena homes for sale have always been in great demand and the Pasadena real estate market is always booming. Now it’s Altadena’s turn and home sellers are giddy while homebuyers are gnashing their teeth for waiting too long to enter the Altadena real estate market.

John and Fred Woodbury launched the first subdivision, naming it Altadena in 1887. Recognizing the awesome scenic beauty of the foothills below the Angeles Crest mountain range, millionaires from the east erected the first mansions along Mariposa Street. This became known as millionaire’s row. Now let’s fast-forward to the civil rights era, a generation later. When the public schools were desegregated a phenomenon known as “White Flight” occurred in this once desirable spot. The Caucasian people pulled out and headed to the west side and the African American population doubled in size overnight. Sadly, the properties fell into disrepair and the area turned into a far less desirable neighborhood than it is today.

Thirty years later the gentrification of North East Los Angeles began to take shape. The rundown and neglected homes were purchased cheap and renovated, then flipped. North East Los Angeles became a prime target for the real estate investor and buyers of modest means scouting for their first house.

Before long the community was thriving once again and the curb appeal of these older neighborhoods improved. The ongoing restorative movement in Altadena, which began in the nineties, has helped to increase property values. As things get spruced up and the area becomes more attractive and expensive, the buyer naturally becomes more discriminating and sophisticated. Like it or not, right or wrong, he rich get richer, and those of a lower socio-economic status are often driven out. Some call it gentrification. Some call it progress. Once considered to be a common working class neighborhood, Altadena now has a private country club with tennis courts and swimming pools. A remarkable contrast to what was “the other side of the tracks” during the 1980s.

For foodies with a sweet tooth and taste for authentic Italian Gelato, take a drive down East Altadena Drive and find Leo Bulgarini’s gelateria. The Rome-born ex-sommelier chose this hot spot to open his gourmet gelato shop and that says it all. The new generation of “Hipsteropolis” bars is also finding its way to this side of town. If you have a good pallet and get a hankering for good French wine, Altadena Ale and Wine House is right around the corner. These specialty shops cater to the elite, which is of course a good sign that the community of Altadena is definitely on the rise.

You can still find a single family home in this glorious horse country for less than half a million. In California’s booming real estate market, that is unheard of. It won’t be long before the middle class will be priced out so its time for homebuyers to make their move. Start by hiring a real estate agent who specializes in the area and who has proven success assisting buyers and sellers alike in Altadena.

Glassell Park Real Estate – What the Numbers Tell Us

Real estate in Glassell Park, a hillside neighborhood adjacent to red-hot Mt. Washington and Highland Park – is in high demand. Prices for Glassell Park real estate are rising and the inventory of homes is shrinking, creating a seller’s market. But why is this happening now when the area was undiscovered for so long? Let’s look at what the numbers tell us about this special community.

Glassell Park is a moderately diverse neighborhood located in Northeast Los Angeles. Glassell Park resides south of Glendale, west of Eagle Rock and northeast of Mount Washington. This neighborhood is quite hilly and provides its residents with astounding views. During the housing boom of 2000 a large group of middle-class people moved to Glassell Park because of the inexpensive cost and abundance of Craftsman homes. The average temperature for the hottest month of the year, July, is 73 degrees. The average temperature for the coldest month of the year, December, is 57 degrees. January is the month with the most precipitation at 4.6 inches.

Area Vibes awarded Glassell Park a livability score of 72, very livable, which is higher than the national average of 70. Walk Score says that Glassell Park is a 61, with a transit score of 44 and a bike score of 38. Therefore, Glassell Park is somewhat walkable, and some errands can be accomplished by walking. There is some public transportation with a score and not many bike lanes.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, there were 23,467 residents within the 2.75 square mile neighborhood. This equates to 8,524 people per square mile, which is average density for Los Angeles. The ethnicity break down was as follows: Latinos: 66.1%, Whites: 13.7%, Asians: 17.4%, Blacks: 1.4% and others 1.4%. 51.5% of its residents were born abroad with the highest two being Mexico, 49.3% and the Philippines, 16.2%. The average age for residents was 30; this is average for the city and county of Los Angeles. 19% of the residents who are 25 and older have earned a four-year degree. There was 4.8% of the population listed as veterans.

The median household income in Glassell Park was $50,098, which is an average figure for the city and county of Los Angeles. The average household size is higher compared to most parts of Los Angeles at 3.3 people. This is 21% higher than the national average. Renters reside in 56.2% of the housing stock; this is 55% higher than the national average. Owners are the remaining 43.8%, these figures are 30% lower than the national average.

According to Zillow, Glassell Park homes are valued on average at $713,700. This is a 9.3% increase from last year and they expect it to raise another 2.6% next year. The average price of homes on the market is $675,000; this is 148% higher than the national average. The market health is rated at 3.8 out of 10 in comparison to other markets across the county. The average price per square foot is $499, which is higher than the Los Angeles average of $448. The current market temperature is “cool” which is ideal for the Buyer’s market. The average price of rent is $2,900, which is 33% higher than the national average.

When buying and selling real estate in Glassell Park, buyers and sellers should consult an experienced real estate agent who specializes in the area.

Highland Park, CA Homes and Real Estate – A Look at the Numbers

In Los Angeles real estate circles, everyone is talking about Highland Park. Like other Northeast LA neighborhoods like Silver Lake, Eagle Rock and Mt. Washington, Highland Park is in a state of gentrification as new stores and restaurants are popping up on York Blvd. and homes are being purchased and restored. As a result, homes in Highland Park are in demand and prices have steadily risen. But gentrification isn’t the only reason. Highland Park is a wonderful area to call home.

Highlan Park is an amiable historic neighborhood located in Northeast Los Angeles. It is a hilly neighborhood located in the San Rafael Hills along the Arroyo Seco. It is southwest of Eagle Rock and Northeast of Cypress Park. People from many ethnic and socioeconomic groups call this neighborhood “home”. The weather is pristine with the highest monthly average temperature being 73 degrees in the hottest month of July and 57 degrees in the coldest month of December. Highland Park experiences light rain; January receives the highest amount at 4.6 inches total. According to Walk Score, Highland Park is the most walkable neighborhood in Los Angeles with a score of 72. It is very accessible and most errands can be completed on foot. It has some public transportation and is somewhat bikeable with a transit score of 47 and a bike score of 53.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census there were 57,566 residents in the 3.42 square miles of neighborhood. That is an average of 16,385 people per square mile. Highland Park is one of the highest density areas in Los Angeles. Highland Park grew to 60,835 people by 2008. The ethnicity break down was as follows: Latinos, 72.4% Whites 11.3%, Asians 11.2%, Blacks 2.4% and others 2.6%. A larger than average 57.8% residents were born abroad. 55.3% of them were born in Mexico and 12% were from El Salvador. In the male population 52.2% were married, 41.2% had never been married, 4.9% had been divorced and 1.6% were widowed. For the women: 50.4% were married, 33.2% were never married, 9.3% were divorced and 7.1% were widowed. The demographic for never married was among the county’s highest. 14.3% of residents who were 25 and above had a four-year degree. This was average for Los Angeles. 45.1% of the residents were born in a foreign city. This was a high number for Los Angeles. 4.9% of people in the population were veterans; this was a low number for Los Angeles. The average age of residents was 28, which is seen as young compared to the other areas of Los Angeles.

The average household income in 2008 was $45,478, which is an average number for Los Angeles. The average household size was 3.3 people, which is 25% higher than the national average. Renters occupied60.9% of housing units, which is 105% higher than the national average. Owners completed the other 39.1%, which is 58% lower than the national average.

Zillow states that Highland Park’s home value index is $662,800, which is up 13.1% since last year and with a projected increase of 4.3% predicted over next year. The market temperature is very hot and ideal for sellers. The average price per square foot is $582, which is higher than the Los Angeles average of $448. The average price of homes is $652,500, which is 123% higher than the national average. The average rent per month is $2,600, being 22% higher than the national average. The current Market Health is 5.3/10, which is relative to other markets across the country. Highland Park will continue to grow and develop.

Because Highland Park is in a stage of gentrification with rising home prices, it is highly advised for home-buyers and home sellers to seek out an experienced Highland Park realtor who specializes in the area.

4 Daily Habits to Adopt for Success in Real Estate & Life

Good habits are the foundation of wealth. If you watch successful people you will see their day is filled with consistent habits that save time, improve focus and ultimately help accomplish more daily. Successful people get up early, learn daily, make lists & set goals and track their progress.

• Get Up Early.

Make the first two hours of your day the most important. It will not only set the tone for the day but will give you a game plan for everything else that follows. These two hours can be used for activities you enjoy such as exercise, meditation or completion of a project or activity from the previous day. The early morning is free from distraction allowing you to do more of whatever you enjoy.

• 20 Minutes Of Learning Daily.

It is important in any business to know what is going on at all times. Trying to master every aspect of the business may seem intimidating but is less difficult if you spend some time on it daily. Regardless of how busy you may be you can squeeze twenty minutes of learning into your daily routine. You can find this time on an audiobook driving to or from an appointment or on the treadmill as you get some exercise in.

• Make Lists & Set Goals.

Success is often easier if you plan exactly what needs to get done. Before you go to bed you should plan for the next day. Tackle the toughest task first and go from there. Planning your goals not only makes you efficient but gives you a sense of direction and purpose. The most successful people in the world have one thing in common, they all say their goals out loud three times daily. This helps to reinforce their direction and keeps them on track in accomplishing their goals. Try it and see how much closer you get to reaching your goals!

• Track Progress.

If you don’t know what is working, is impossible to gauge the results? At the end of every day you should take some time to evaluate what you did to build on your progress. If you failed to do anything, you need to ask yourself why and then develop a new plan to stay on track.

You ultimately control where you go in Life. Changing habits is never easy but is essential for growth. Start by incorporating these four habits into your daily life and see the difference it makes towards your success.

Shadow Inventory – What Is It and How to Find It

Many Investors have been asking me about shadow inventory how much is out there and how to get their hands on it. Shadow inventory usually refers to the supply of homes that has not yet hit the market, but “hiding” in the background. In Real Estate this refers to foreclosures (REO or bank owned properties) or those close to the process.

Banks and mortgage loan servicing companies typically hold onto properties that haven’t seen a mortgage payment for 90 days and in some cases even 2-3 years.

Why do they hold on so long?

Banks hold on since it allows them to release their inventory over time to keep their books in check and also to provide that easy liquidation to stimulate the real estate economy when necessary. Banks will now be getting more money for those newly released properties, then say 2 years ago, due to the steady increase in home prices and low inventory levels. If they chose to release all at once, it would flood the market with “distressed properties” and bring down property values.

How much “Shadow Inventory” is still out there?

Foreclosures have been steadily declining since 2013 with the highest shadow inventory then at 2.2MM. According to the National Association of Realtors, there is still about 4 years still on the books and it is possible that we could soon see more!

More “Shadow Inventory”? Why? (HAMP) Home Affordable Modification Program

In 2017 and beyond, many homeowners may find it difficult to make their mortgage payments due to “resets” with HAMP thus pushing them into foreclosure. The government’s Home Affordable Modification Program provided temporary relief to borrowers during the housing crisis. These reliefs ended after five years and now payments will be “reset” thus causing loan payment increases for nearly 900,000 homeowners. Some of those are likely to find it difficult to keep up with the payments in our current economy.

Where do Investors find “Shadow Inventory”?

Forget about calling the loss mitigation department or asking the cashier at your Big Bank. They won’t be able to help you. Instead, savvy real estate investors can approach the REO departments of smaller regional banks, credit unions and portfolio lenders to find out what could be “lurking” in the shadows. This presents an opportunity to beat out the competition and purchase at greater discounts.

But my favorite way to locate “Shadow Inventory” is what I call “Driving for Dollars”. Simply drive through areas that have high foreclosure activity and look for the white sticker posted on the front window or door of the house. This typically contains the information of the bank or asset manager of the property and their phone number. Give them a call and see where they are in the foreclosure process and if they’re ready to make a deal!

The NEW kind of “Shadow Inventory”!

There is a new kind of shadow inventory on the market these days and I’m not talking about the REO kind. Many successful agents have their own shadow inventory. If you’ve been in the business for an extended period and built up a clientele, these clients typically contact you well in advance of the property going on the market. You advise them of the steps needed to get the house ready to show which typically means doing repairs such as paint, carpet, landscaping, staging, etc. Therefore, there is a period of time before the property actually hits the market creating a different type of shadow inventory. Contacting your favorite realtor about this type of inventory can definitely increase your chances of finding that Dream home.

Happy House Hunting!