Easements 101

EasementsAn easement is a legal agreement between the property owner and a non-owner to utilize the property in some fashion and an important concept to understand when buying investment land.  Two examples would be a shared driveway easement or a utility easement. Your name is on the deed, but your neighbor or utility company has the right to use a portion of your land as the easement states.  It is important to be aware of the easements that affect your property or property you are about to purchase.

So how do you go about finding easements?

Easements are typically recorded at the county recorder’s office and they are public record if you would like to research easements for yourself.  Searching for easements can be difficult, especially if parcels have changed owners multiple times.  Some easements can go back over 100 years and require some extensive legwork to find.  Ordering a title report with your local title company or the services of a real-estate attorney would be well advised.

What are the different types of easements?

The most common are utility easements and private or right-of-way easements.  Utility easements may include the use of power, either underground or overhead, phone/data, gas lines, well/public water and sewer lines.  Private easements could include driveways, walkways or paths and access to bodies of water.  Some of these easements require some sort of service agreement to be recorded with the easement.  One example would be a shared driveway.  The service agreement would state who is responsible for proper maintenance of the driveway and how often service is to occur.  It would also include any costs associated with servicing the driveway and who is responsible for them.

How does one gain, remove or adjust an easement?

Easements are typically granted or removed by a binding written document between the parties involved in the home sites or property.  Some examples would be a shared well that is no longer in service or a shared driveway that is no longer in use.  If the original easement was recorded, it is required for the removal or adjusted easement to be recorded, as well.  Typically, some form of compensation is given to the property owner that is allowing the easement.

Easements can be difficult to find and are often overlooked. This can sometimes be costly in cases of adding to a home or pouring a concrete driveway. To learn more about easements contact an expert member of the Land Wealth team.

 

 

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Foreign Buyers aren’t Leaving Southwest Florida

Blog Photo- International Investors

Thousands of foreign buyers are buying investment land across the United States.  Florida is the number one region for sales, holding twenty-two percent of the foreign market.  According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) who conducted a survey involving 4,000 real estate sales of foreign buyers, found that Florida’s greatly reduced prices created a good investment.

Foreign buyers purchased $92.2 billion for houses in 2014. Thirty percent of U.S. real estate agents now say they are working with offshore clients, NAR reported.

The realtors association estimates total international sales from Chinese buyers were $22 billion in the twelve months that just ended in March, 2015.  They report the Chinese are buying luxury homes in Southwest Florida because they are a bargain compared to the $1.5 million they might pay for a small condominium in Hong Kong.  They report that some are paying cash and buying sight unseen. Many are parents who are buying homes in the U.S. for their children to attend college.  Canadian buyers spent almost $14 billion and Mexican buyers spent approximately $4.5 billion in purchases.

Condos are sought after by seasonal and older buyers, causing a short supply of housing to purchase. While supplies are still shrinking, inventory fell by only 5% over the past year.  Supplies have been constraining sales, now they are easing.

NAR suggests that 2015 is starting strong.  Closed sales in all price categories above $300,000 increased in 2014 by double digits, with the $2 million and above price category experiencing the highest increase. The NAR figures indicate that the SWFL regions market prices continue to rise as inventory stays low.  Properties, especially near the beach, are selling faster and closer to the sellers’ asking price.

If you are an international looking to buying land in Florida, contact the state’s premier land investment firm, 9 Core Realty at (239) 333-2221.

 

Lee County Real Estate Market is Hot, Hot, Hot!

Lee County Florida LandHousing indicators in Lee County Florida including Cape Coral Land purchases and nationally look good for the most part as does the overall economy, according to experts.  In Lee County, home prices are going up and stabilizing nearly across the board and in some cases have surpassed peak 2005 levels.

A lot of that increase in value has to do with where a property is located.  Neighborhoods broken down by ZIP codes seem to make a lot more sense than when it’s broken down by price range.  It’s about location, not price range, it’s how close you are to the beach, which really drives your value. This rings true also when purchasing investment real estate.

Condos haven’t seen as large a jump in price as single- family homes, but there are a number of reasons for that.  There have been financing challenges in the condo market including foreclosures and unpaid fees and that may have kept that condo market depressed over the past 12-24 months.  As we see home prices stabilize, the condo market will start to grow.

Statewide, the housing market has rebounded nicely from recession lows and economic indicators, which are tied closely to the real estate market, look positive, particularly for the wealthy.  There is a very close correlation, between million-dollar-plus home sales in Florida and the Dow (Dow Jones Industrial Average), so it’s kind of an indicator or where home sales are going to do.

In addition, transportation and infrastructure investments in Southwest Florida could help spur economic development, leading to a stronger local economy and higher home sale prices.

Nationally, the overall economic indicators look good, but the housing market has a few weak spots.  Wage stagnation, the unavailability of credit for subprime borrowers and a lack of lower-income housing are depressing the market.

A bright spot for Florida is the region’s favorable location and constant population growth.  Population growth is Florida’s saving grace.  People just want to be here and that’s what’s driving the real estate market in the region.

To learn more about the current state of the Lee County real estate market, contact a member of the 9 Core Realty team at (239) 333-2221.

 

 

 

SWFL- A Popular Choice Among International Real Estate Investors

SWFL Home

Naples was the 10th most popular city in April for searches by international real estate for investors, according to a survey recently released by Realtor.com International. With a population of 20,000, the city is David vs. Goliath on the list, which except for Naples consists of large metro areas: No. 1 is New York, followed by Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando and Las Vegas.

Among Canadians, Naples is even higher on the wish list: fifth, after Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Miami. Naples and the rest of Southwest Florida have always been favored destinations for Canadians who want to escape that country’s brutal winters. Naples’ high prices and elite reputation may play a role in the popularity of that city in particular.

Among foreigners who actually buy Florida land investments and homes , Canadians are by far the largest group: 8 percent of Lee County’s properties sold each year are bought by foreigners – three-quarters of them Canadian. In Collier, of the 6 percent of homes foreign owned, Canadians make up two-thirds.

Canada’s the only country that has Naples in its top five, but Miami is on most of the other countries surveyed by Realtor.com. That’s especially true of South American and Caribbean buyers. With volatile economies in their homelands, South Florida investment real estate is considered a secure place to invest one’s money.

To learn more about the SWFL real estate scene or to view any of our SWFL land investments, contact a member of the 9 Core Realty Team at (239) 333-2221.

Port Charlotte-Just Listed- The 9 Core Realty Featured Lot of the Week

1112 WELDON TER PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

A perfect Port Charlotte land lot with tons of room is this week’s 9 Core Realty Featured Lot of the Week. Just listed, this lot is located at 1112 Weldon Terrace in sunny Port Charlotte, FL 33953. This rare double lot, with plenty of space is listed for $13,900.

The zone on the Gulf of Mexico from Venice to Port Charlotte is world famous for its fishing, beaches and beautiful climate. Now it is also one of the best places in the US to find profitable land and waterfront property investment opportunities. The real estate market meltdown is over and land prices have started to rise quickly after reaching bargain levels across the board, usually down 60% to 90% since August 2005. Port Charlotte land prices are moving up and home inventories very low, at seller’s market levels.

To learn more about the 9 Core Realty Featured Lot of the Week, contact an expert member of the 9 Core Realty team at (239) 333-2221.

How to Begin Investing in Real Estate

LandInvestmentsAn unusually long and harsh winter is delaying the start of the spring real estate and land market, but for the investment-minded, continued low interest rates and high demand for rentals appear to outline an opportunity especially when buying investment land.

Institutional investors and their buckets of cash have dominated many markets for the past several years, according to real estate data cruncher CoreLogic. But at the end of 2014, cash sales declined to a national average of 36.1 percent, down from 38.8 percent in November 2013. CoreLogic also reported that the foreclosure inventory declined 34 percent at the end of 2014. That means individual investors are starting to have a shot at lower-priced properties ripe for fixing up and renting and lower priced land investments for sale, real estate professionals say. If you are thinking of tiptoeing into investment real estate, you have two basic approaches.

Buying shares in a real estate investment trust. You can invest in a REIT, but doing so involves buying shares of a portfolio of properties. It’s really more like buying a stock or buying into a fund and a completely different animal from owning real estate directly.

There are three layers of value – the real estate itself, the management and cash flow that supports the trust, and the fund based on the trust. It’s a very different vehicle than buying real estate, but most of us can’t just go out and buy 1 percent of a skyscraper.

Adding a REIT to your portfolio can complement stock and bond funds, but you must be sure you understand how the real estate fund is designed and how its managers will likely extract value from the holdings. You can buy shares of REITs and real estate-based funds, but the performance of the funds is based on both cash flow and gains from occasionally selling properties – a very different scenario from the typical performance drivers of stock and bond funds.

Direct ownership. In a direct ownership you own your investment property. When you own real property as a direct ownership you can fall in line of thinking that your investment is easy money, that there’s not a lot of work, that tenants will pay on time and that pipes never leak. As we all know from real world experience, this is a dangerous way of thinking. Land is a bit of a different story and can end up being a wiser investment as it requires less general care, maintenance and overhead. Your land investment will never call at three in the morning to report an overflowing toilet and appreciates in value much faster than a real property investment.
To learn more about investing in land real estate contact an expert member of the Gratia Group at (239) 333-2221.

Why you Should Consider Land a Viable Investment Option

Blog Photo-Land InvestingToday’s world is filled with consumers with a fair amount of disposable income that aren’t aware of their investment options. They are guided by friends and family who are often misinformed too.  The US alone has seen a rise of over 29 percent in the disposable income generated in the country between 2007 and 2012.  What are the people doing with this income?  In the search for investment options, you usually encounter a number of risks. The popular maxim of investing is that the risk you take is directly proportional to the returns on your investment.

Perhaps the starting point for most investors is the low risk option of fixed deposits, mutual funds or commodities.  The more adventurous may gamble on the high risk-high return stock options.  However, if you’re an investor with a medium risk appetite looking to get high returns, you might want to consider buying land investments.  Historically, land has only gone up in terms of value.  Over the last five years, land has shown over 100 percent value appreciation in some areas.  Such growth is indicative of the great potential land holds for investors, yet many haven’t recognized this opportunity so far.

In terms of residential land on the outskirts of cities, you should take into account that already established residential areas may be hard to penetrate owing to few available spaces and high capital that is involved.  Nonetheless, if you do your research you could find spaces that are either in the process of developing or aren’t discovered yet but have the potential to grow.  These spaces provide the best opportunities in land investment.

There are some key indicators you should base your research on before buying real estate for investors including connectivity and access to basic amenities.  Some of the major deterrents to buying land in the past have been misconceptions associated with it.  People often go by the erroneous notion that land does not produce income or produces very little of it.  According to research, land was the investment that provided over 100 percent returns on investment between 2010 and 2013.

The difference with land as compared to other investments is that it is a tangible asset that allows you to adopt a few precautionary methods that reduce the investment risk from medium to low while still maintaining high returns over a long term.  The world is short of habitable land that needs to be able to develop, accommodate, expand, scale up, build, grow or upgrade.

Nonetheless, that’s only a part of the reason investing in land should be an element of your portfolio.  All of the three primary needs for life- food, clothing and shelter – are dependent on land, which provides the investor with a host of flexible options on getting the best out of your land investment.  You could dedicate it to organic farming, tap into a small business idea or build a home on it.  At the same time, it also gives you an option to leave it alone because in most cases it still continues to appreciate steadily and surely.

Despite its promise people are often discouraged from investing in land by their perception of the amount of capital required for it.  Firstly, it is more economical to buy vacant land than a developed property, a number of investors have invested in land using their savings and entirely avoiding dealing with loans and mortgages.  Moreover, if you can find the right places to invest and get in at the right time, the returns could be great.  The additional feature is that land can be a source of passive income over the long term, meaning it requires the customer to do little actively to gain returns.  In essence, land as an investment provides a wider range of business opportunities in a sector that rarely depreciates.

Mutual funds, equities, commodities, residential property and other options all make sense in certain scenarios and so does land.  It is a long-term option that will diversify and add volume to any investment portfolio.  It’s important not to jump the gun on land investment, only venture into it if you’re willing to consider it as a serious option and treat it as a business endeavor.

To learn more about land investments contact a member of the Gratia Group team at (239) 333-2221.