Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Emergency Ready Kit

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that all Americans have some basic supplies on hand in order to survive for at least three days if an emergency occurs. It is recommended that the Ready Kit should be assembled well in advance of an emergency.

The concept is to be able to survive for at least 72 hours until local officials and relief workers arrive on the scene. The disaster could be wide-spread and involve a lot of people that makes it difficult for relief workers to reach everyone immediately.

  • Water, one gallon per person per day for at least three daysFema ready logo2.jpg
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA weather radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (prescription and basic)
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Pet supplies if necessary

Click here for a print version of this list and additional items to consider adding to an emergency ready kit. The American Red Cross has a suggested list for first aid kits and has other items available for purchase at their online store.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Sam's Tip for Building Wealth: Forced Savings

One of the big banks has a voluntary program available that transfers $100 each month from your checking account to your savings account. In five years, the account owner would have over $5,000 because of a type of forced savings. iStock_000059416596-250.jpg

Similarly, when a person buys a home with a standard amortizing loan, each month, a part of the payment is used to reduce the principal loan amount. Amazingly, over $4,000 would be applied toward the principal in the first year of a $250,000 mortgage at 4% for 30 years. In five years, the loan amount would be reduced by almost $25,000 through normal payments.

The other dynamic that is in play is that while the unpaid balance is being reduced, appreciation causes the value to increase. The difference between the two makes the equity grow even faster. Three percent appreciation on a $250,000 home would increase its value in five year by almost $40,000.

A 30-year mortgage of $250,000 will be paid for in 30 years. At an average of 3% appreciation, the asset would be worth about $600,000. If you continue to rent, the asset belongs to your landlord instead.

Many experts believe that the homeowner benefits from the forced savings of amortization and the leveraged growth that takes place in the investment. It has been observed in the tri-annual Consumer Finance Survey by the Federal Reserve Board that homeowner’s net worth is considerably higher than that of renters.

Imagine if you doubled or tripled that net worth by investing in rental properties!  This is the same strategy that I've used to grow my own personal wealth, as well as those I've counseled.  Start with your first home . . . then move to this "buy and hold" strategy.  

In my youth, my wife and I moved every 8-10 months with a "buy and flip" strategy.  We used this for cash flow . . . but what if we'd "held" all those properties?  How rich do YOU want to become?

Call Sam Ferreri, 40+ year veteran of the real estate industry and Team Leader of TheSamTeam.com at RE/MAX Top Realty.  Start your wealth plan for 2016!  Make this your New Year Resolution!  832-200-5656  SamF@Remax.net

Thursday, December 17, 2015

My Best Christmas Presents . . . Ever!

Christmas is next week, and as I'm stressed trying to find the "perfect" gifts for everyone, I suddenly realized the best gifts I ever received.  Usually, one must "give" to "get."  And although I always try to give everything I can and then some more, I think I'm remembering what I've received . . . which actually may help me to give!  So, the old adage may be reversed . . . this time only.

First of all, by happenstance, God delivered a wife (and subsequently) a daughter.  Though we're no longer married, she's still a big part of my life and inspiration.  My daughter is married now, and is a beautiful, giving, caring person . . . very smart and she makes me very proud.  Clearly, these were my best gifts.

Next, somehow God sent a young man into my life whom I helped to gain his confidence and inspired him toward a path of greatness . . . and his drive, determination, and internal motivation really compelled him toward achievement.  He gave me one kidney, that turned out to save my life. What a selfless gift!

The most incredible team of real estate agents -- and an incredible staff of directors, employees, and co-workers -- is also a blessing of a gift.  They are my life.

Notice a common theme?  My greatest gifts are gifts of LOVE, not THINGS!  In fact, can you remember the "things" you got for Christmas last year?  A new outfit?  A toaster?  An iPod? Frankly,
I've been trying to remember and for the life of me . . . I can't!  I am so blessed and so grateful for all my gifts!

When I Google-searched "Best Christmas Gifts" (images), it was ALL things (except for a semi-naked lady . . . hmmm . . . ).  Have we lost the true meaning?  Is is really about going into debt?

What's YOUR best Christmas Gift?

By the way, may I suggest a new home for Christmas?  Call me at 832-200-5656 to find yours!  -Sam & Team, RE/MAX Top Realty . . . and it does follow my theme . . . Home is where the Heart is . . . it's not just a "thing."  God bless you and Merry Christmas . . . and best wishes for a terrific 2016!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

More Equity...More Options - Grow Your Personal Wealth with Single Family Real Estate

The more equity in your home, the more options you have. Since equity is determined by the difference between value and what is owed on a property, when homes lost value during the Great Recession, homeowners’ equity decreased. Equity-250.jpg
Negative equity occurs when the value is less than the mortgage owed. According to CoreLogic, 91% of all mortgaged properties have equity and only 4.4 million properties remain in negative equity at the end of the second quarter in 2015.
Since home values have been rising, imagine if you had bought some rental properties that mostly pay for themselves. You could be growing long-term wealth that will help you significantly in your "relaxing" years!  This is a strategy that I have implemented for a long time . . . and my "senior years" are fast approaching, though I don't seem to "relax" or even "slow down!"  On the contrary, I follow my mission of helping people grow their personal wealth through single family home ownership.
A homeowner, who qualifies, can release part of their equity by refinancing the existing loan and taking out additional cash or by getting a home equity loan. The benefits include:
  • To get a lower rate on your current mortgage
  • To finance capital improvements on your home
  • To payoff higher interest rate debt such as credit cards or student loans
  • To purchase items that would not have deductible interest like personal cars, boats, etc.
It could be as simple as waiting for positive home equity so owners can move to another home without having to pay out-of-pocket expenses to sell their home.  And if you have rental properties, you can multiply the cash effect by the number of properties.
Why wait?  Get started today!  Call Sam . . . get vested!  832-200-5656

For over 40 years, I've been helping people just like you achieve their real estate goals.  Buying or Selling, Call Sam and Get Moving!  TheSamTeam.com  832-200-5656 #remaxtoprocks

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Two things everyone needs to know about plumbing

The first thing every homeowner needs to know about plumbing is how to turn the water off in case of an emergency. It’s like having a fire extinguisher; you hope you never need it but you want it just in case you do.Plumbing-250.jpg

Generally, the cutoff is in the front of the home. There may be a separate cutoff box on the owner’s side of the meter. If not, the owner needs to be able to open the water meter and turn it off there. This will require a water meter key which can be found at a local home improvement store and a wrench. Once you have the key, practice opening the meter door and check out how the shutoff valve works. Then, put the key in a quick and easy place to find when you need it.

The second thing a homeowner needs is a recommendation of two good plumbers. Having a backup name is always good in case your first choice can’t make it when you need them.

Some homeowners prefer to go the do-it-yourself route. There are plenty of DIY videos on the Internet but having the name of a good plumber if the job gets out of hand can be the tool that saves the day.

Our business puts us in touch with some of the most reliable and reputable service providers and we’re willing to share their names with you. Regardless of whether you “do it or delegate it”, being familiar with the basics can be very helpful.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Investing in Rental Homes may be YOUR best hedge . . . read my blog

Appreciation, tax advantages, cash flow, leverage and equity build-up contribute to the rate of return on rental real estate. If that sounds confusing and it’s keeping you from investing in rentals, try looking at it a different way.Paperwork-250.jpg
Consider this, look at only cash flow and equity build-up to determine whether to buy the property. They are easy to calculate and their outcomes are both reliable and predictable.
Most homeowners, based on their familiarity with their own home, should feel more comfortable with a rental than alternative investments. A conservative strategy is to purchase slightly below average price range homes in a predominantly owner-occupied neighborhood. Collect the rent, pay the bills and make necessary repairs.
A cash on cash rate of return is determined by dividing the cash flow before taxes by the cash invested in the property. It considers all of the “real world” income and expenses related to the property.
cash flow and equity buildup.png

The equity build-up occurs from the normal process of amortization with an increasingly larger portion of each payment applied to reduce the principal loan amount.
In this hypothetical example, the combination of the Cash on Cash and the Equity Build-up is almost 12% which is considerably higher than certificates of deposit and bonds and nowhere near as volatile as stocks or mutual funds.
In most of today’s markets, rents are expected to continue to rise and due to a low inventory of homes for sale coupled with growing demand, prices will continue to rise. Even though there is value in appreciation, tax advantages and leverage, they could be considered an unexpected bonus to this basic rate of return.
Regardless, at the end of the day, you have a fully paid-up investment that has some significant cash value down the road.  Personally, this has been my own "senior strategy" for a few years.  In 2016, the first 3 rentals of mine will be paid off entirely!  Then, the return starts to grow exponentially. Many people facing the senior years would welcome a nice cash flow to supplement any retirement account (or social security) which they may or may not have.
To find out more about investing in rental properties, call The Sam Team at RE/MAX Top Realty.  832-200-5656 or email SamF@Remax.net.  At The Sam Team, it's all about YOU!