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Kobe Bryant drops home's price - MSN Real Estate

Kobe Bryant drops home's price - MSN Real Estate | Joe Siegel Lender | Scoop.it
The injured NBA star is now asking $7,999,999 for his half-acre estate.
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HUD announces Colorado grant money for affordable housing - Denver Business Journal

HUD announces Colorado grant money for affordable housing - Denver Business Journal | Joe Siegel Lender | Scoop.it
and improvements are coming to many HUD complexes with the $10 million.
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Joe Siegel Lender: Joe Siegel Lender Appears at FAMB Convention in Orlando

Joe Siegel Lender: Joe Siegel Lender Appears at FAMB Convention in Orlando | Joe Siegel Lender | Scoop.it
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The Most Fabulous Houses Of 2014

The Most Fabulous Houses Of 2014 | Joe Siegel Lender | Scoop.it
Today, the American Institute of Architects released its list of best residential design. Check out the winners here.

Via Michael Stuart
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Michael Stuart's curator insight, April 8, 2014 10:12 PM

Every year, the American Institute of Architects honors the best residential design in the U.S., recognizing, as the organization puts it, “good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit, and a valuable national resource.”

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10 Markets With a Rise in Real Estate Inventory

Where are the markets with the biggest year over year increase in real estate inventory? We list the top 10 and the answers may surprise you.
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Housing recovery is all for the 'haves'

Housing recovery is all for the 'haves' | Joe Siegel Lender | Scoop.it
Most of the growth in home sales is in the higher end of the market, where buyers have higher credit scores and higher down payments.
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Home Prices Will Continue to Rise, Report Says - Real Estate News - realtor.com

Home Prices Will Continue to Rise, Report Says - Real Estate News - realtor.com | Joe Siegel Lender | Scoop.it
Home-sale prices are expected to continue rising for at least the next several months, according to a CoreLogic report.
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Homebuyers face spring sticker shock

Homebuyers face spring sticker shock | Joe Siegel Lender | Scoop.it
Would-be buyers out trolling neighborhoods are finding higher prices than they expected. Home prices are up 12 percent from a year ago.
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TruAmerica Multifamily drops $55 million on first Denver apartments - Denver Business Journal

TruAmerica Multifamily drops $55 million on first Denver apartments - Denver Business Journal | Joe Siegel Lender | Scoop.it
TruAmerica didn't start small with a $55 million purchase of a southeast Denver complex.
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Selling? How to redo every room for $500 or less - MSN Real Estate

Selling? How to redo every room for $500 or less  - MSN Real Estate | Joe Siegel Lender | Scoop.it
From the kitchen to the bathroom, a few simple, inexpensive touches can breathe new life into any room.
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Planning dept. supports historic designation

Planning dept. supports historic designation | Joe Siegel Lender | Scoop.it
Highlight: Historic designation hearing on church building is today. Planning department supports the designation. City Council will make the final decision. The Denver Community Planning and Devel...
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Best and worst markets for rental returns - MSN Real Estate

Best and worst markets for rental returns - MSN Real Estate | Joe Siegel Lender | Scoop.it
Buying a property to rent out? Keep your eye on Detroit and the Atlanta area.
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Colorado's March foreclosure rate down from year ago, but up from February - Denver Business Journal

Colorado's March foreclosure rate down from year ago, but up from February - Denver Business Journal | Joe Siegel Lender | Scoop.it
The state's foreclosure filing rate continues to fluctuate by month, but is on a steady downward trend.
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The small print that could cost landlords thousands

The small print that could cost landlords thousands | Joe Siegel Lender | Scoop.it
Some letting agents' contracts contain terms that could seriously eat into property investors' returns

Via Richard W J Brown
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Richard W J Brown's curator insight, April 8, 2014 1:54 PM


Ah yes the small print trap...it can give us quite a nasty shock when suddenly the print is not-so-small, as I and plenty of other investors can no doubt testify.

 

In a parallel story, I have heard of several software license providers to slip in the odd strange term or condition in their several pages of small print license agreement. For example, Tunnel Bear, the IP address geography shield that allows you to watch BBC iPlayer in Timbuktu, allows subscribers to pay them in honey instead of cash; although so far only one person - a beekeeper - has taken them up on their offer it seems! The reason is straightforward enough - pretty well nobody reads them, even less so on the Internet accompanying an immediate download.

 

Coming back to our world, I was recently presented with a 'standard letting management agreement' by a new lettings agency that I had appointed to take over one of my properties. The small print was not that small but nonetheless ran into several pages of A4. I had been given the 'we only charge landlords a flat fee of x% and a one-off set up fee of £y' line in dealing with said agent up until this point by which time they had been marketing my property for a little while and had several viewings lined up. I decided to give it a read, as tedious as that is but as history has taught me I need to. Within it I discovered two clauses of notable concern:

 

The first was that if the tenant were to buy this property from me at any time during the agreement or within a year of me terminating my agreement with the agent, then I would be due to pay them a fee of 2% plus VAT on the sale...that's more than I typically pay an estate agent to market and sell a property in the first place!

 

The second, was that if I were to terminate the agency agreement with them but the tenant was to remain in situ in the property that I would be liable to pay them a complicated formula resulting in a fee for 'loss of profit' equivalent to 5 years’ worth of their usual fee...FIVE YEARS!!

 

I realise the value of the first point and merely agreed to reduce the fee to a more realistic 1%, amending and signing the same by agreement. However, the second point was a bit trickier as the agent concerned was hiding behind the 'my insurers and legal team won't allow me to make any changes to this clause' excuse...but we just varied the sales agency fee right? In all honestly, this is probably what in legal circles would be classed as 'an unfair contract term' and especially so if the termination of the agency was due to a breach on the part of the agent. So, I took a view and accepted the same but not without an exchange of e-mails, which confirmed that the agent would most likely not impose this term in the event of a fault on their side that lead to the termination.

 

Maybe I should have just walked but there were not a lot of agents in this area and a previous one had also hit me with one of their own - no property inspections are included within a 'full management' agreement apparently - this is an extra at around £150 a pop if memory serves me correctly...ouch!! So stick I did but they are pretty decent so far at least. I could tell of other stories with other agents here too.

 

In addition to the small print and its traps that can sucker us in, as outlined in the attached news article (and also in a recent Just Landlords blog post here: http://www.justlandlords.co.uk/blog/small-print-important-landlords/), there is also the unwritten small print - so small that it is in fact invisible. By this I mean, certain accepted standards or practices that some agents adopt but don't tell you. I have seen the £25 admin fee type for arranging a boiler repair, which I usually take issue with when it arises in the agreement; but here I am talking about back door charges instead.

 

For example, asking a tradesman or contractor to quote one figure gross for me and then a commission or equivalent back to the agent to arrive at their net trade price. A 10% to 20% top slice, which is effectively paid for by the landlord but they never know it. Some agents won't work with a contractor unless they agree to do this...some but not all I add…

 

It is sometimes hard to spot the hidden charges buried in the small print but it is even harder to spot it when it isn't even written down.  All you can do in this instance is to ask them outright what their operating policy is and to sniff around on the forums to see if others are aware of it with said agent.

 

In my own case, after I smelt a bit of a rat with some repair quotes from one agent, I insisted on a quotation matrix to be put in place for any repairs, with 3 quotes to be obtained when the bill was above a certain level and for me to have the right to take over the selection of a tradesman / contractor where the bill exceeded a higher figure. I allowed low value quotes to proceed as is because I do get the point that getting 3 different quotes to fix a leaky tap might just be more time and trouble to the agent than it is worth. Aside from this, asking around in the trade’s space within the local lettings market can help to identify such practices and the culprits I have found.

 

So, now I always read the small print and as a result I have ditched certain insurance providers, lenders and agents and in other cases have been able to spot a potential problem and minimize its impact onto me before it arose by amending it. As for spotting those invisible small print points - that means doing a little more sleuthing but it can be worthwhile in the end.

 

I guess the moral of the story is: in order to avoid a nasty little surprise down the line then it is worth spending a little more time up front in reading the small print and asking a few key questions – it could just save a tidy packet in the end.

Richard W J Brown's comment, April 9, 2014 6:32 AM
Joe - thx for the rescoop :)
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7 neighborhood details you may be ignoring - MSN Real Estate

7 neighborhood details you may be ignoring - MSN Real Estate | Joe Siegel Lender | Scoop.it
Your new house or apartment may look great. But pay attention to these things to ensure you'll enjoy living in it.
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Help wanted: Colorado construction industry needs people - Denver Business Journal

Help wanted: Colorado construction industry needs people - Denver Business Journal | Joe Siegel Lender | Scoop.it
Denver added about 3,600 construction jobs in the last year, and the industry is competing with Colorado's booming oil and gas sector for workers.
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Why hasn't everyone refinanced? - MSN Real Estate

Why hasn't everyone refinanced? - MSN Real Estate | Joe Siegel Lender | Scoop.it
A recent Fannie Mae study says that 46 percent of mortgage-holders have not refinanced their loans -- and most haven't tried.
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Proposal to hike oil and gas fines by 1,400% returns to Colorado legislature - Denver Business Journal

Proposal to hike oil and gas fines by 1,400% returns to Colorado legislature - Denver Business Journal | Joe Siegel Lender | Scoop.it
A bill to hike fine on oil and gas companies that violate regulations returns to the Colorado Legislature, but this year, the outcome may be different.
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How To Request a Porch Home and Neighborhood Report - Real Estate News - realtor.com

How To Request a Porch Home and Neighborhood Report - Real Estate News - realtor.com | Joe Siegel Lender | Scoop.it
The free Porch Home and Neighborhood report gives interested homebuyers a clear history of home improvement projects done to a particular property.
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US mortgage applications fell last week: MBA

US mortgage applications fell last week: MBA | Joe Siegel Lender | Scoop.it
Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell last week on lower refinancing demand, an industry group said on Wednesday.
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Denver makes it to final 6 for Republican convention - Denver Business Journal

Denver makes it to final 6 for Republican convention - Denver Business Journal | Joe Siegel Lender | Scoop.it
Denver remains in the hunt for the 2016 Republican National Convention. The GOP has named the Mile High City as one of six still in the running as convention site.
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