I authored two continuing
education courses accepted for credit by the California Department of
Real Estate and taught the capstone course for the Certificate program
in Investment Real Estate for the University of California at Irvine. I
brokered homes, industrial and commercial property as well as completed
appraisals, feasibility studies and other consulting work. And though
my focus during the last 20 years has been directly in financial
planning, real estate still is a major interest of mine. Further, it
occupies a major element of many an individual's total assets at least
through their own home.
While laws have restricted the real estate losses against ordinary
income, shortened the time frame for deferred exchanges, adjusted
installment sales and, most notably, lengthened depreciation schedules,
real estate will always be one of the cornerstones of America's wealth.
Admittedly, it ended up in the doldrums in the late 80's and mid 90's,
but the cycle of appreciation came back once the stock market hit a
snag. Unfortunately, the cycle has reversed once again- hence the
necessity of paying attention to economics.
Please stay current on reverse
mortgages. These have major financial repercussions on the elderly and
can be very hard for them to understand. Further, the plans are forever
You'll need an HP12C
or similar to figure out some PV's.
The list below includes all
articles and specific links in alphabetical order with accompanying
description. The listings in the column to the right are separate
sections for articles and links
"People are living longer than
ever before, a phenomenon undoubtedly made necessary by the 30-year
EXCHANGES: Exchanges let you defer tax on a REAL ESTATE sale
(hardly any other assets qualify for tax deferral upon a sale) until a
much later period of time. I did this article for the Arizona Board of
Realtors many years ago and it contains a "fool proof" method for
determining taxable amount, boot, etc.
EXCHANGE LINK: 1031 exchanges allow property owners to transfer all
gain to another property if purchased and closed within a set period of
time. This company provides info and acts as an intermediary. As with
almost all the links on this site, I do not have personal experience
with them so I cannot recommend the competency or quality of their
services. But it clearly appears to be worth the visit.
REAL ESTATE EXCHANGE LINK: This is a for profit site but it does
have some good info.
APARTMENTS LINK: A site
that lists over 4,000,000 apartments nationally. Should be valuable if
you are moving out of area and need an idea of availability and price.
APPRAISAL LINKS: Appraisal Institute
Subcommittee of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council provides
comprehensive information about the Federal oversight system regarding
licensed or certified real estate appraisers and has compiled a list of
currently available State appraiser regulatory agency Web sites with
e-mail addresses of key personnel along with news on the Appraisal
Foundation, the ten formal policy statements regarding State
Certification and Licensing of Real Estate Appraisers and more.
Association of Real Estate Appraisers
LOAN LINK: A good site on bank rates, types and sizes of
mortgages, where available, and much more.
This site by co hosts of a TV show provides
some pretty good tips through hundreds of projects so you can fix
things and your wife and kids will be proud, your neighbors envious and
all the rest of that stuff.
BUYER'S BROKER: So,
does you broker work for you or the seller? Surprise!!! These brokers
are not available in all areas but it may be worthwhile to seek them
out. Independent studies have shown they have saved 5% of the purchase
LINK 1: "REBAC (Real Estate BUYER’S AGENT Council) is North
America’s largest association of real estate professionals
(23,000) focusing specifically on representing the real estate
LINK 2: This is the site for the National Association of
Exclusive Buyers Agents. Simply input your city and state and they will
identify if an agent serves your area. You can contact them instead of
having them contact you (as happens above). Same caveats apply however.
A HOME LINK: (HUD)
EARTHQUAKE INSURANCE QUOTE LINK: The rates are region-specific and
reflect coverage for homeowners (including mobile home owners),
apartment or house tenants, and condo owners.
CLOSING COSTS: Most
buyers and sellers are confused by the various fees. Here is commentary
by Dick LePre on what each item represents.
Miscellaneous real estate issues.
GLOSSARY LINK: Very VERY extensive.
PROPERTY LINK: Extensive database information on Commercial and
Investment properties. Includes national search engine.
LINK: If you are moving to another community and would like similar
demographics, this unique lets you compare lifestyles to see if they
match (or to avoid the cretins you have been living next to.)
Quite interesting and useful.
DEVELOPMENT LINK: Though initially designed for corporate and
industrial site selection, the American Community Network offers
detailed profiles of every city, county, and metropolitan area in
America . You can find workforce data, annual unemployment rates, check
average commute times, search for quality of life factors, temperature
ranges, and much, much more.
PROPERTY VS JOINT TENANCY:Specific reference to community property
in California and similar community property states. If you are married
and own a home, bet at least 50% of you own a home as joint tenants.
ANALYSIS: One of the best and simplest ways I have found to
analyze a real estate property and I think it should be done on every
purchase. Properly done, you can take the results and compare it
against almost all other real estate or other investments and see which
one is better. You'll need a calculator. Also contains some current
commentary on real estate.
to look for when hiring a contractor. First thing is proper licensing.
COUNSELORS OF REAL
ESTATE LINK: Home page for those that offer advice on many areas
of real estate. They must have education and experience.
HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (HUD) LINK: The government
provides information about mortgages, lenders, homes for sale and much
YOURSELF LINK: Tons of information to screw up your weekend
with stuff that needs fixing. Lots of links to commercial sites
with products- but overall offers some good insight.
With a little work, you can determine how much to put down, whether to
INSURANCE: Commentary on what you should look for and how it works.
INSURANCE LINK: The EQE International's HomeRisk website is where
California homeowners can obtain an online earthquake risk assessment.
The assessments provide an EQE Seismic Risk Rating- low, average,
high risk- for an individual structure and represents a measure of
"earthquake fitness" for that building type at the shaking intensity
expected on the soil mapped at that site, and at the specific distance
of the site from the known active faults in the vicinity.
LINK: A map of the U.S. colored to show which areas should
surpass/lag the overall job and economic growth. Very interesting and
illuminating. Go to front page- click Wylies Map.
SAVINGS LINK: This site allows you to do an online checkup on your
home or business to see what savings might be made. Unique
MAPS LINK: These maps provided teh location, type and performance
of HUD-funded activities in every neighborhood across the country; and
select EPA information on brownfields, hazardous wastes, air pollution
and waste water discharges.
PROTECTION AGENCY LINK: You might find the site valuable when
checking out problem areas where you live or might move to. Lots of
other valuable info.
QUESTIONS LINK: Good info by an author of a book on escrow
EVICTION LAW LINK:
EXISTING HOME SALES
LINK: pdf from Ed Yardeni
NATIONAL MORTGAGE ASSOCIATION (FANNIE MAE) LINK: Similar to the HUD
page, it provides information, commentary and links to all sorts of
real estate activities.
LIMITS LINK: Just put in your county and state
LINK: Scores from 300 to 900 show how much of a mortgage you will
get and how much you will pay. This site shows you your own FICO score
and what factors influence it.
INSURANCE, and REAL ESTATE LINKS: The
finance department of Louisiana State University has provided an
exceptional list of links to all sorts of investment areas. Good Stuff
INSURANCE: Many people mistakenly think that a homeowner's policy
covers for flood damage. WRONG! Lots of other comments including
approximate policy premiums.
INSURANCE LINK: Good overview on many aspects of flood insurance.
FOR SALE BY
OWNER LINK: A new site that list homes for without agents.
Between this and the NAR site below, you might be able to get an idea
of what is available in a particular area of the country. I think this
site will grow tremendously.
Estate Directory LINK I am not sure this is really necessary
because competency comes first, but ...................
GINNIE MAE LINK:
Ginnie Mae facilitates an efficient secondary market activities
for federally insured or guaranteed mortgages by selling them on the
open market. But as an investor, you still need to know that these are very
difficult investments to understand and utilize. The government does
guarantee against default- but it does not guarantee your principal
investment from fluctuation due to interest rate changes. See also
GLOSSARY OF REAL
ESTATE TERMS LINK: Large in scope but somewhat limited in
detail, it still should give you a good start to the understanding of
basic real estate terms.
Government National Mortgage Association Passthroughs and other agency
issues do have some form of backing by the U.S. government if the
mortgages default. That's how and why they get sold. But the underlying
risks and lack of understanding of the unlimited calls make these far
from conservative investments.
APPRECIATION: Just a simple table showing the appreciation over
the past 20 years in different time increments.
LINK: Looking to buy a new home??? This is the largest new home
site on the Web with over 100,000 builder listings. It has a customized
search for each city.
KIT LINK: A Department of Housing and Urban Development has a site
for buyer's that includes info on your legal rights, if you wonder
about your legal rights, the size of mortgage you can afford, how to
choose an agent, and more.
IMPROVEMENT LINK 2:
IMPROVEMENT LINKS :
Improvement Outdoor Projects
Due to the substantial increase in home
improvement construction during the last 10 years and the fact that
many homeowners don't check out their contractors properly, even don't
get written contracts, etc., I thought these sites would be useful.
They also provide design tips and more.
HOME LINK : This
site has an extensive amount of information on all aspects of home
buying, selling, home searches, agent contacts, relocation information
and much more. I will repeat again however, do NOT use anyone mentioned
simply because they are on the WEB. Check out all licensees with state
licensing departments, Better business Bureau, etc. As stated
elsewhere, you need to do a lot of homework before using anyone for
investments- the same criteria exists here- maybe more so since the
purchase of a home is apt to be the largest you will ever make.
LINK 2: All sorts of info on making your home livable.
DIRECTORY LINK: The American Home Inspector Directory
includes members of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI),
National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI), Independent Home
Inspectors of North America (IHINA), National Association of Certified
Home Inspectors(NACHI), and other valuable inspector associations.
MODIFICATION FOR THE ELDERLY LINK: "Home Modification and Repair
includes adaptations to homes that can make it easier and safer to
carry out activities such as bathing, cooking, and climbing stairs and
alterations to the physical structure of the home to improve its
overall safety and condition."
LINK: Good consumer's info on Where To Begin, What To Look
Out For, When To Settle and How To Protect Your Rights
INSURANCE: Basic commentary on what to look for including the
different HO policies.
PRICE CHECK LINK: Find the price of a singular home, homes on a
particular street or homes within a certain price range in a particular
city. Invaluable info when buying or selling a home.
PRICE LINK: Excellent statistical info on houses going back 20+
HOME PRICES AND
RENTS LINK: pdf from Ed Yardeni. Good economic data
HOME WARRANTY LINK: When
selling a home, one of the "best" marketing tools is to offer a home
warranty. It may protect the buyer from certain repairs needed later
on. Couple this with a good home inspection, and it may allay many
purchaser fears.The article reviews the pros and cons and offers some
valuable insight now that this market has matured.
STATISTICS LINK 1: "Housing and Household Statistics from the
Census Bureau". Once again the government has come up with a fine site
with information on disability, health insurance, income, labor force,
vacancy factors, residential segregation, housing affordability and
much, much more
STATISTICS LINK 2:"Maintained by the U.S. Department of Housing and
Urban Development's Office of Policy Development and Research, this
site is the primary source for federal government reports on housing
policy and programs, building technology, economic development, urban
planning, and other housing-related topics. If you're looking for hard
data, click on "data sets" from the home page to access various
databases, including the American Housing Survey (AHS). The AHS can
answer many questions about U.S. consumers and their homes."
SENIOR LINK: The Department of Housing and Urban Development has
set up a site specifically referencing issues for seniors.
and Swift) Here are some improvement costs for a typical home and the
life expectancies. Very useful
INTEREST RATE MOVEMENT: See Stochastic
ESTATE DIGEST LINK: The page links to sites all over the world,
has homebuying tips, recent legislation and more.
STATUTES LINK: Landlord Tenant Statutes by State
TRUST LINK: The Land Trust Alliance promotes voluntary land
conservation and strengthens the land trust movement by providing the
leadership, information, skills and resources land trusts need to
conserve land for the benefit of communities and natural systems.
LINK: The site allows you to take a loan, adjust it by changing
payments to interest only, adda payment, pay off loan in "x"
months, make one added payment, etc. and see the repercussions.
LINK: This site allows you to analyze up to five different loans
to see which one would cost you less over time. Very worthwhile
HOME PARK LINK: . The site contains info on all areas of mobile
home parks, appraisals, sales, listing, etc.
MOLD LINK: One
of the worst problems addressing real estate nationally. Worse than
MORTGAGES: Lots of
commentary on different types of mortgages, ratios, etc.
MORTGAGE LINK: All
sorts of articles covering types of loans, processing, refinancing etc.
BANKING LIBRARY LINK: This site by a law firm that specializes in
mortgage banking. It provides a compendium of sites related to federal
and state law and reference material related to the mortgage industry.
CALCULATOR LINK: A page offered by Fannie Mae that lets you
figure out how much home you could afford under different scenarios,
what you could refinance for, various lenders, etc. See also Credit
Report Link above
DICTIONARY LINK; Abbreviated comments generally for the
INFORMATION LINK 1: This is an information site that has over 150
articles on credit reports, refinancing, FHA and VA loans, title
insurance and a whole lot more. Should help you with an overall review
of real estate. Then look to info and links on this page for more
INFORMATION LINK 2: Huge amount of info on literally every element
of lending. Highly recommended
STATISTICS LINK: Mortgage Statistics analyzes data, trends
and market research that supports mortgage finance and investment
COSTS LINK: You can get an estimate of how much a house move might
1: This excellent site has information on schools, maps of an
area, average price of homes and a lot more.
MOVING LINK 2:
the American Moving and Storage Association has a site that's packed
with resources including a moving planner, tips on dealing with
problems and an interactive locator.
ASSOCIATION OF REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUSTS (REIT's) LINK: You
really need to know what they are, how they work, etc. since the use of
REIT's and mutual funds using REIT's is a major consideration in
investments and asset allocation.
ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS LINK: Home page for the major organization
of Realtors. Has tips on ownership and over 840,000 homes listed across
the U.S. which you can get information about.
CENSUS LINK: This first goes to the FFIEC (Federal Financial
Institutions Examinations Council- I have no idea what it is) Geocoding
Sampler where you put in your address to get a certain coding for
the area. By pressing another button, you then get census demographics
about your neighborhood- or the one you are considering- income,
populations, number of owner occupied and rental units, etc. Good stuff
if you are considering a move.
VALUATION LINK: SPAR - Specialists in privately-held,
non-traded assets, including closely-held stock, limited partnerships,
LANDLORD LINK: If all rental housing units permitted pets,
approximately 6.5 million animals could be placed in homes. But this is
a contentious issue and here is some commentary that might help the
MORTGAGE INSURANCE: You do not have to be stuck with
PMI forever and this article from Dick LePre will give you the insight
as to what to do to get it canceled.
MORTGAGE INSURANCE LINK: The site addresses what it is, how much it
costs, when it has to be used, how to get rid of it and more. and
the tHE SITE ADDRESSES WHAT IT DOES, HOW MUCH IT COSTS
LINK 1: You should at least use an inspector that has a
contractors license. This site provides extensive info on who you
should use and the associated credentials, a library of terms and other
articles of interest. Look at this site before you buy a home
INSPECTORS LINK 2: "The American Society of Home Inspectors® is
the national professional organization of home inspectors who have met
professional and educational requirements through an exam and
membership review process." They are independent since they are "not
allowed to actively engage in real estate sales or to have a financial
interest in the sale or maintenance of any property that they inspect."
MANAGEMENT LINK: This goes to the site for the National
Association of Residential Property Managers which specializes in
managing houses, duplexes, etc.
MANAGEMENT GLOSSARY LINK:
INFORMATION LINK: This free Home Sales site lets you view
the sales prices of homes in specific areas. It doesn't include
detailed data that is offered with fee sites, but just put in your zip
code and you are apt to find extensive listings of sales prices in your
immediate that you can use for comparison purposes.
VALUATIONS LINK: Some reports free- others small fee. May help you
decide how much insurance to buy. Probably worth the $15 to $20 since
most homes are underinsured. As many as 67% of Americans are
underinsured by 25% or more!
HOUSING LINK: The Public Housing Authorities Directors
Association (PHADA) is a professional trade association representing
local housing authorities from across America. Lots of info if you are
involved as a professional or consumer
REAL ESTATE GLOSSARY
LINK: Take a guess
ESTATE GLOSSARY LINK: Very Extensive
INSPECTOR LINK: Enter your zip code and find an inspector through
the American Society of Home Inspectors
REAL ESTATE NEWS
LINK: Tons of current commercial, residential and consumer news on
all the issues of real estate. If you are a professional the field
or just need info on mortgages, REIT's, office buildings- the entire
gamut- take a look.
PRODUCTS LINK: Thousands of products, tools and info on building
plans, contractors, remodelers and more.
SOFTWARE LINK: Many programs are free
ESTATE TENANCY IN COMMON LINK: Characterization of tenancy
in common as a partnership for income tax purposes.
REAL ESTATE TRENDS
LINK: Coverage includes the residential and commercial
markets, regional trends, and an overview of real estate trends.
RETURNS LINK: An extensive research article by TIAA (pdf)
INSURANCE LINK: Basic info from the Ohio Insurance Department
LINK: Want to know how things work and (possibly) how to fix them.
This site has commentary on just about anything around the house AND
the house itself. So the next time your husband tries to fix something,
check this out and give him tips while he is doing it. It will provide
lots of laughs and improve marital harmony.
GLOSSARY: Real Estate Investment Trusts have a unique terminology.
LINK: Moving? Well, this site has 30,00 links to all the
info you could use. "The largest independent relocation search
LINK brought to you by the National Association of Home Builders
LINK: The National Renovation Lenders Association is a network of
banks, thrifts, mortgage bankers, credit unions, mortgage brokers, and
allied professionals who offer loan products to finance the purchase
and renovation, renovation and finance, or renovation only of one- to
INSURANCE LINK: Good overview article on what to look for,
coverage, discounts, glossary, etc.
COST LINK: This site provides a range of costs for
different types of real estate repairs- foundation, roof, attic,
plumbing, exterior, etc. I realize that prices vary tremendously across
the U.S., but I think it is a good place to start when you are
wondering just how big the bill will be.
EQUITY GLOSSARY LINK: (AARP)
MORTGAGE LINK:1 "The National Center for Home Equity Conversion is
an independent, nonprofit organization established to educate consumers
about reverse mortgages. It offers guidance, disclosures, calculators,
standards and more. A calculator allows you to put in your age, value
of your home, location, etc. and you can get an estimate of much of a
loan you may be entitled to. Reverse mortgages are fraught with
inflated and fraudulent claims and fees and you MUST review this site
in order to get the proper insight.
MORTGAGE LINK 2: Though this is a commercial site, it contained
material not offered in the above and is certainly worthwhile reviewing
before attempting to file for a reverse mortgage. These are not cheap,
easy nor as beneficial as many publicize. Basically, they represent
people who may have never planned properly for retirement but at least
own a home with significant equity.
MORTGAGE LINK 3: Extensive info from AARP.
MORTGAGE CALCULATOR LINK: If you are 62 or older, just enter some
basic info (home value, zip code, etc.) and you can get a rough
estimate how much money you could get.
MORTGAGE CALCULATOR LINK 2
MORTGAGE CALCULATOR LINK 3 It may seem that all three calculators
should provide the same "answers". Never assume this- try all as part
of your analysis.
MORTGAGES: If you are elderly, own a home and most of the mortgage
is paid off, you may be able to take out the equity WHILE YOU ARE
LIVING IN THE HOME. But you better do a lot of homework beforehand
since some companies are scam artists charging outlandish fees.
ROOF LINK: Need
help with a leaking roof, choosing a roof contractor or for other
questions, take a look.
A HOME: A few tips on what to do to make your house more
presentable. Remember, first impressions DO count- even if they appear
to be simplistic- and can mean thousands of extra dollars. Also shows
what consumers/homebuyers are looking for.
PROPERTY STATUTE LINK:
LONG BOND LINK: See below
STOCHASTIC ANALYSIS: An
"understanding" of the stomaster by author Jim Grauer. This is
difficult reading of highly technical material regarding the movement
of interest rates. You need to read this before attempting to view
his site above (though the commentary here is offered in more extensive
pdf format at this site). Very interesting and thought provoking
LINK: Online resource for residential tenants rights. See also
Landlord and Tenant
LINK: Have bugs in your home? This extensive article on termites
from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture should
provide all you need to know about the pesky little buggers.
LINK: Classified ads across the world for people selling their
units. I have used these myself many years ago. They are NOT
investments but vacation units that you can use in different areas of
the world. Just be sure to get on the right trading system. Also watch
your maintenance costs- they can eat you up and cost more than the
vacation would have outright. These can work, but you have to be
1 LINK: This HUD program "suggests" you work only with a
HUD-approved Title 1 lender. This allows you to select the contractor
and helps to prevent inflated estimates that only increase costs.
ARTICLE: Literally everyone needs this when buying property and
this should give you some insight.
INSURANCE LINK1: Good article from an Eastern Better Business
Bureau on the needs, costs, coverage, etc. of title insurance.
INSURANCE LINK2: This site by First American shows over 77 ways one
could lose a property. Clearly makes the issue for the use of title
INSTITUTE LINK: This is the premier organization on the use
of land in order to enhance the total environment. Extensive articles
WATER AND CLIMATE LINK: At
the Climate Center visitors can get a better idea of how they'll fare
in winter, whether spring runoff will be a killer or if there are dry
days ahead. Good to know if you are thinking about moving to a new
area- or from a bad one.
DAMAGE LINK: General comments on coverage by a policy
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