Nassau - Nassau lighthouse and AtlantisAtlantis Paradise Island Royal TowerRiu Paradise Island All Inclusive
 

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New
Books on
Nassau and
the Bahamas


 
















Resources 1
Resources 2

 


 

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Bahamas Real
Estate Index



Real estate consumers can choose from nearly 80,000 real estate brokerages and more than 2 million real estate licensees, more than 1.3 million of whom are Realtors. Competition is fierce. In fact, discount brokerages and many innovative business models are doing very well today and the average real estate commission, as computed by Real Trends, has fallen from 5.5% in 1998 to 5.1% in 2003. The real estate industry has been effectively harnessing the Internet for years, to the benefit of sellers and buyers alike.


About three out of four buyers today use the Internet to search for homes, and those using the Internet are more likely to work with a professional than those who do not. No other industry in the world has virtually its entire inventory online.


 

New Providence
Nassau, Cable Beach and  Paradise Island

 

 


So if you are looking to relocate, invest in some property, or maybe a vacation home.
You will not find a more helpful bunch of professionals waiting to hear from you.
listings include homes for sale, vacation rentals, luxury properties, private islands and investment property.

 

                                                                                                                      

Buying Your Home
Appraisals & Market Value

Q: What is the difference between market value and appraised value?

A: Appraised value is a certified appraiser's opinion of the worth of a home at a given point in time. Lenders require appraisals as part of the loan application process; fees range from $200 to $300.

Market value is what price the house will bring at a given point in time. A comparative market analysis is an informal estimate of market value, based on sales of comparable properties, performed by a real estate agent or broker.

Q: How do you find out the value of a troubled property?

A: Buyers considering a foreclosure property should obtain as much information as possible from the lender about the range of bids being sought.

It also is important to examine the property. If you are unable to get into a foreclosure property, check with surrounding neighbors about the property's condition.

It also is possible to do your own cost comparison through researching comparable properties recorded at local county recorder's and assessor's offices, or through Internet sites specializing in property records.

So if you are looking to relocate, invest in some property, or maybe a vacation home.
You will not find a more helpful bunch of professionals waiting to hear from you.
listings include homes for sale, vacation rentals, luxury properties, private islands and investment property.

 

Q: What are the standard ways of finding out what a house is valued at?

A: A comparative market analysis and an appraisal are the standard ways consumers, lenders and realty agents deterimined what a home is worth.

Your real estate agent will be happy to provide a comparative market analysis, an informal estimate of value based on comparable sales in the neighborhood. You also can research "the comps" yourself by checking on recent sales in public records. Be sure that you are researching properties that are similar in size, construction and location.

This information is not only available at your local recorder's or assessor's office but also through private companies and on the Internet.

An appraisal, which generally cost $200 to $300 to perform, is a certified appraiser's opinion of the value of a home at any given time. Appraisers review numerous factors including recent comparable sales, location, square footage and construction quality.

 

Q: What's a house worth?

A: A home is worth what someone will pay for it. Everything else is an estimate of value. To determine a property's value, most people turn to either an appraisal or a comparative market analysis.

An appraisal is a certified appraiser's estimate amenities, energy efficiency, the quality of the of the value of a home at a given point in time. To make their determination, appraisers consider square footage, construction quality, design, floor plan, neighborhood and availability of transportation, shopping and schools. Appraisers also take lot size, topography, view and landscaping into account.

A comparative market analysis is an informal estimate of market value, based on comparable sales in the neighborhood, performed by a real estate agent or broker. You can do your own cost comparison by looking up recent sales of comparable properties in public records. These records are available at local recorder's or assessor's offices, through private companies or on the Internet.

Other resources include:

* The Home Sales Line allows people to use their telephones to find the exact selling price of houses anywhere in the state 24 hours a day. Call 1-800-585-HOME.
* Dataquick Information Systems tracks home sales statewide and prepares reports for specific properties. Call 1-800-999-0152.
* Go to Web sites such as http://www.homeshark.com and http://www.dataquick.com.

 

Q: What standards do appraisers use to estimate value?

A: Appraisers use several factors when estimating value including historical records, property performance, condition of the home and indices that forecast future value. For detailed information on appraisal standards, contact the Appraisal Institute at 875 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60611-1980; (312) 335-4458.

 

Q: What is the return on new versus previously owned homes?

A: Buying into a new-home community may seem riskier than purchasing a house in an established neighborhood, but any increase in home value depends upon the same factors: quality of the neighborhood, growth in the local housing market and the state of the overall economy.

One survey by the National Association of Realtors shows that resale homes do have an edge over new homes. The trade group's figures show the median price of resale homes increased 3 percent between 1994 and 1995, compared to 0.8 percent for new homes in the same period.

 

Q: What is the difference between list price, sales price and appraised value?

A: The list price is a seller's advertised price, a figure that usually is only a rough estimate of what the seller wants to get. Sellers can price high, low or close to what they hope to get. To judge whether the list price is a fair one, be sure to consult comparable sales prices in the area.

The sales price is the amount of money you as a buyer would pay for a property.

The appraisal value is a certified appraiser's estimate of the worth of a property, and is based on comparable sales, the condition of the property and numerous other factors.

 

Q: Can I find out the value of my home through the Internet?

A: You can get some idea of your home's value by searching the Internet. A number of Web sites and services crunch the numbers from historic public records of home sales to produce the statistics. Some services offer an actual estimate of value based on acceptable software appraisal standards. They also depend on historic home sales records to calculate the estimate.

Neither of these services produce official appraisals. They also don't factor in market nuances or other issues a certified appraiser or real estate professional might in assessing the value of your home.

Condos, Apartments & Single-Family Homes

 

Q: How do you choose between condos and single-family homes?

A: Using appreciation as a measure, condominiums in some areas have been as profitable an investment as single-family homes in the last five years. And in some markets, condos appreciated even more, according to some experts.

While single-family homes have been the preferred investment by home buyers, changing demographics are helping make condos more popular, especially among single home buyers, empty nesters and first-time buyers in high-priced markets.

Also, the condominium community has worked hard in the last few years to overcome image problems brought on by homeowners association and developer disputes as well as all too frequent construction-defect litigation.

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Q: Are condominiums risky to buy?

A: While condos never had the kind of appreciation experienced by single-family homes in the go-go 1980s, most ultimately have not lost value, say some experts. And with high prices in many urban markets and more single home buyers in the market than ever before, the market for condos is strong.

As with any home purchase, you should do your homework about the neighborhood or development before you buy. In the case of condominiums, it is important to read the past six months of homeowners association minutes to see how effective the board is and to learn about any possibly detracting issues (such as protracted litigation with the developer).

The condominium community has worked hard in the last few years to overcome image problems brought on by disputes and lawsuits. Associations are becoming more sophisticated about property management and taking steps to prevent legal problems and disputes.

Other resources:

* Community Associations Institute, 1630 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314; (703) 548-8600.

* "The Condominium Bluebook," Branden E. Bickel, B&B Publications, San Francisco, CA; 1993.

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Q: What do you think of a vacation home as an investment?

A: You can buy a vacation home today for investment purposes as well as enjoyment. And yes, there are tax benefits.

Some people buy a vacation home to use as a permanent retirement home later, which allows them to get ahead on their payments. Another benefit is that the interest and property taxes on a vacation home are tax-deductible.

Some real estate experts predict that vacation homes will appreciate in value due to rising demand from the aging Baby Boom generation. You also can depreciate the property if you live in the house less than 14 days a year.

You also need to consider whether you can afford to carry two mortgages, pay for the extra utilities and maintenance costs, and how this investment fits into your total personal finance picture.

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Q: What do you think of get-rich-quick real estate schemes?

A: Most real estate experts say there is no such thing as getting rich quick in real estate. But there are no end of get-rich-quick programs presented to the public as alternative methods of buying real estate.

Some are reputable while others depend on your financial circumstances to work. A handful are simply scams.

Many get-rich-on-real-estate programs offer advice on how to buy government foreclosure properties and participate in other government programs. Most of this information can be obtained by calling the government offices involved directly.

Anyone interested in real estate investments would be wise to explore a variety of sources. Most investors view real estate as a long-term investment. Deals that sound too good to be true often are.

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Q: Do condos have to be made accessible to the disabled?

A: The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act does not require strictly residential apartments and single-family homes to be made accessible. But all new construction of public accommodations or commercial projects (such as a government building or a shopping mall) must be accessible. New multi-family construction also falls into this category.

In all states, the Federal Fair Housing Act provides protection against discrimination for people with physical or mental disabilities. Discrimination includes the refusal to make reasonable modifications to buildings that aren't accessible to the disabled.

Two educational brochures, "Housing Rights" and "Discrimination is Against the Law," are available through the Department of Fair Employment and Housing by calling (800) 884-1684.

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Q: Can condos ban smoking?

A: A homeowners association's board of directors can restrict smoking if it applies to indoor common spaces such as hallways or recreation rooms. Outdoor spaces are a different story, say legal experts. Any restriction would probably hinge on local laws (i.e. if a city banned smoking outdoors, a homeowners association probably could restrict smoking in its outdoor spaces).

Typical covenants, codes and restrictions (CC&Rs), which govern condo associations, give the board authority to make and enforce reasonable rules for the use of common property. But that would not apply to interior spaces owned by smokers themselves. Resources:

* Common-interest development brochure available free from California Department of Real Estate, Book Orders, P.O. Box 187006, Sacramento, CA 95818-7006; (916) 227-0938.

* Various Internet sites specializing in common-interest developments, such as those operated by the Community Associations Institute and CIDNetworks.

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Q: Are condos a good investment?

A: Condominiums have held their value as an investment despite economic downturns and problems with some associations. In fact, condos have appreciated more in the last few years than when they first came on the scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s, experts say.

While there are lots of reports about homeowners association disputes and construction-defect problems, the industry has worked hard to turn its image around. Elected volunteers who serve on association boards are better trained at handling complex budget and legal issues, for example, while many boards go to great lengths to avoid the kind of protracted and expensive litigation that has hurt resale value in the past.

Meanwhile, changing demographics are making condominiums more attractive investments for single home buyers, empty nesters and first-time buyers in expensive markets.

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Q: How do I project rents on a rental?

A: If you are buying a rental income property and applying for a loan to do so, the lender will require an area rent survey by a certified appraiser. The amount a landlord can expect to receive in monthly rent largely depends on what the property has rented for in the past, the condition of the building, its location and the current housing market.

Lenders also look at other cash-flow considerations. They want to know if you have enough reserves on hand to cover predictable and unforeseen expenses, such as property insurance, taxes, regular maintenance and repairs.

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Q: Are one-bedroom condominiums a good investment?

A: One-bedroom condominiums historically have not been considered as good an investment as condos with two bedrooms or more. But in high-cost markets, such as Manhattan or the San Francisco Bay Area, one-bedroom condos have proven to be equally good investments. Helping that along are changing demographic trends. With more single home buyers in the market today than at any time in history, there is more demand for one-bedroom condos.

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Q: How do I figure out the homeowners association?

A: Learn everything you can about the homeowners association before you buy into a development governed by one. The association's financial, political and legal conditions are very important to your investment and quality of life.

When run properly, homeowners associations maintain the common grounds and keep civility in the complex. If you follow the rules, the association should not intrude on your privacy or cost you too much in association dues.

Poorly managed associations can drag down property values and make living there difficult for residents. Start by studying the association?s covenants, codes and restrictions, or CC&Rs, and find out if you can live by them. For example, if the rules prohibit loud music after a certain hour and you like to play your CDs late at night, this may not be the place for you. Don't move in thinking you can get away with violating the rules or change them later because you may find yourself in turmoil with determined neighbors firmly in control of the association board.

Find out all you can about the association's finances. Beyond reviewing the budget, talk to the association treasurer and find out if dues are expected to increase and if any special assessments are planned. Ask if special inspections have revealed problems with roofs or plumbing that may cause a dues hike or special assessment later on.

Call and meet with the association president. If you are the type of person who despises intrusions into your private life and the president seems more interested in gossip about the residents than maintaining the property, this may not be the right condo complex for you.

Speak with residents to get their views on the association's finances, its property manager, how it operates and any politics. Associations are volunteer organizations with elected boards, like a mini-government, so politics can enter the picture and spoil a good thing.

Lastly, take some time to understand how homeowners associations are organized and how they conduct business. Like all real estate investments, the more you know the better off you are.

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Copyright 1999 Inman News Features





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You may want to visit some of my other web sites about:
 A guide to Key West with information on Hotels, Fishing, Scuba Diving, Weddings and just plain fun.
  This one is a site I am working on for when Havana Cuba opens up with travel tips on hotels sightseeing and more.
Guide to South Beach Miami with information on Night Clubs, Weddings, Hotels and all the beach fun you can handle.
 Still one of my favorite places in South Florida the Everglades National Park see it before it gone.
If you get tired of all the people the Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the most isolated national parks around.