Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cyber insurance - what is that?

Nearly every day you hear in the news that there was a hacker attack and a well-known company had a data breach. Such a data breach is costly for the breached company and they often have no possibility to recoup their losses from the hacker. Therefore it is a good idea to think about a cyber-insurance.

Maybe you think, you have a business liability insurance that covers these issues too. Don’t be fooled, such a risk is not covered by your liability insurance. Also the argument, such a cyber insurance is very expensive maybe not the correct argument because in the case of a data breach the data loss will be much more costly for you because you will lose your data and the trust of your customers.

To find the matching cyber insurance you should consult your business insurance broker and assess with him/her your business risk. You have to cover your own business risk as well as the third-party risk like your customers.

With such a cyber-insurance you not only get the coverage for your risk but you will get very valuable information too how to protect and secure your IT-systems.

For more information you can contact us at

Monday, February 23, 2015

What are the best upgrades when I want to sell?

Forget the recommendation from yesterday for your remodeling project. The expectation and the taste of the buyers are constantly changing. To get the best price for your home you should wisely choose the best upgrade options for you.

It is not always easy to keep up with the buyer’s wish list for their new home. It also doesn’t make sense to spend too much for a renovation that will not pay back at the closing table. Therefore here only a few tips what to consider:
Granite countertops are out, today's buyers are looking for quartz countertops.

The wish for stainless steel appliances still stand and if you would like to upgrade your appliances you should keep this in mind and look for energy efficient ones.

The best bet for the backyard are fire pits and outdoor kitchens, especially to consider in Florida, where nearly everybody enjoys the outdoor lifestyle.

The newest trend for bathroom updates is the freestanding tub, when you have enough room for this upgrade.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

The big spenders in real estate

The rich and super rich like to invest in real estate. They have normally more than four properties and at least two of them are vacation retreats. A very interesting point is that the primary residence of these superrich are not the biggest and most expensive that they own. Their vacation hideaways are often more luxurious and bigger and also more expensive.

These vacation homes are sitting on huge lots and often have twice the size of the primary residence. The most important decision-making point for these mansions is their hobby or a specific passion.

The superrich who reside outside the United States prefer to buy properties in the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and France. Only one third of the United States superrich people purchase property abroad. In case they do so they choose countries like the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Australia and France.

Florida with its exquisite and luxurious mansions is also a preferred location for this property owner segment.
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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Asian investors go west

We have a new hot real estate market area. Since a few months Asian investors have discovered that there are not only valuable real estate properties at the coastlines of the United States. We professionals in Florida are happy when for example Chinese investors come and spend their money with us.

However, these investors look now further to the horizon and they discovered that Chicago is also a great place to invest. Chicago is booming and it attracts multinational business headquarters as their primary location. This investment opportunities are no longer a secret and many other investors tried to get their piece of the pie.

Due to the increasing property prices the Asian investors also explore the surrounding regions and states of Chicago like Michigan and Iowa.

The Chinese investors don’t come alone. They bring their family and employees with them and so the Chinese population in that area has already increased by 40%. This increased Chinese population will certainly bring a new and interesting cultural touch to the Mid-West area.

Do you know how to connect with the Chinese culture? We are happy to show you the best business culture practice.
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Sunday, February 15, 2015

New house financing opportunities

A few years ago before the housing bubble burst it was very easy to get a mortgage. You only had to provide very little documentation about your financial situation. As long as you had a steady job and a regular income you had a good chance to get a mortgage. This situation was the main reason for the financial problems in the housing sector.

After the housing bubble burst and many banks nearly went into bankruptcy the mortgage requirements were very strict and it was very hard especially for first-time homebuyers to qualify for a loan. At that time the borrowers had a lot of hoops to jump through and could hardly get a loan.

The first situation was as bad as the second one. However, both sides – borrower and lender – have learned their lesson. The borrower knows that he/she has to show a solid financial status before a lender is willing to lend him/her the necessary money.

On the lender side the mortgage requirements are less restrictive and for first-time homebuyers the 3% down payment in a real estate purchase is back again. With such a high mortgage amount the borrower has to pay insurance premium for the loan amount that exceeds 80% of the purchase price. During the housing crisis this insurance premium was 1.35% and is now down to 0.85% and that is a huge advantage for first-time homebuyers.

These new financing options will certainly attract new buyers who had to struggle in the past with the higher down payment and qualification requirements.

To get more details how to get a loan you can contact us at

Thursday, February 12, 2015

I want to sell the condo of my inherited condo

When I took that listing I thought that is an easy task. The market is good, the location is excellent and close to the beach. The unit is in good condition. Let’s move and we hoped to get the transaction closed within 30 days.

The public records of the property didn’t show any information that should rise a red flag. However, during the title examination we found out that the probate at the time of death of my customer’s father who was the former owner of the unit was not properly done. The father of my customer deceased in New York and the probate was done at the court in New York. During this probate proceedings my customer got papers that stated that she was the owner of the unit and she thought everything was okay.

Sadly the attorney who had done the probate case in New York forgot to file the probate case also in Florida. Because of this attorney’s mistake my customer had to retain a second probate attorney in Florida who did the missing filings. Such additional filings are a costly factor in a real estate transaction.

To prevent such a costly issue you should already at the purchase time decide if personal ownership is the best choice for you. There are better options to protect you of such a probate situation. To find out the best options for your specific situation the advice of a real estate attorney is the best protection.

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Monday, February 9, 2015

When is the best time to sell?

If you are right now in the decision-making process you might ask yourself: is now the right time to sell my house? Can my listing agent give me any advice? That’s a good question.

Several market studies on the internet show that the best listing time is spring season. In this season 38% of the listed properties are under contract within 30 days and 15% of these properties close with a higher sale price than the listing price. The worst season according to the studies is the fall. In that time of the year only 34% off the list of properties were sold within 30 days with an 11% higher sale price than listing price.

These numbers show that the differences are only marginal. Much more important is the location of the property and the actual property conditions. If your property is in a well-maintained and clean condition it will sell mostly above the asking price in the today’s market and it doesn’t matter when you list your property.

Second influencing factor is the overall real estate market condition. If many houses are in distress or facing foreclosure you will have a hard time to sell your house at your asking price because of the existing competition on the market.
In some geographic areas like Florida the season question will have an impact because we have in winter and spring the high tourist season and thousands of international buyers flood into the sunshine state. They are additional buyers for the listed properties.

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Friday, February 6, 2015

55+ People are on the move

The time of waiting is over for these homeowners. The people that are 55 and older stayed in their homes during the last years. During the recession and the financial crisis the house lost a big portion of its market value. When you as a homeowner have a mortgage on your property that exceeds the market value of your home you would have realized that loss and maybe have jeopardized your retirement funds. In case you as a homeowner had already paid off your mortgage and you have only equity in the home it would have been wise to sell the home either because the sale proceeds would have been much less than today.

Now it is time to make the move and sell their property. The market statistics show that movement clearly. The home sales in this specific market segment have increased by 5 points to 58 % during the last year and it is expected that this trend will last.

However, when these elder people sell their homes they need to move to a different home – either a smaller single family home or a condominium. This movement creates a demand either for a purchase or for a lease of a property in a 55+ community.

This particular market segment is constantly growing. This demographic segment of retirees and pre-retirement increases because the people are much healthier and they live longer. The live expectancy is in average 79 years and is moving upwards. All these people need a home for this portion of their lives and that makes this senior market segment very attractive for developers that focus on elder people housing projects.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Homeownership seems to rebound

At the end of 2014 the homeownership in the United States was only 63.9 %. That is the lowest rate since 1994. However, in comparison to other countries such a rate is high. The homeownership rate in Germany for example is below 50 %.

The reason for this low homeownership in the US is the mortgage crisis that led to the housing meltdown and the massive foreclosure wave. During this housing downturn many homeowners lost their property because they could not afford their home any longer and had to move back in with their parents. That means that under one roof sometimes live two or three families together – the parents and the son and/or daughter with their family. Depending on the size of the house that can be tough.

Since the economy is recovering and the job market offers new opportunity these households have a new change to get on their feet and buy a new home. While they were living with their parents these potential home buyers had the time to save some money for the down payment of their new home and could repair their damaged credit records.

These home buyers are today in a better financial position when they apply for a loan and the lenders are also on their way to make loans more affordable. The lenders know if they do not give loans they will not make money therefore they will help home buyers to qualify for a loan.

As an international buyer you should keep in mind, that you have to buy now before these new US buyers hit the market and you are in the competition with these homeowners.

You will find valuable information about an international real estate purchase in this book

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