Itz’ana Placencia Belize

Residences in Belize
Itz’ana Residences

As a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) I have access to many investment and retirement opportunities thoughout the globe. One such destination, is the Itz’ana Resort and Residences.

Itz’ana is located in the beach town of Placencia, Belize in the midst of world renowned snorkeling, diving and fishing.

According to the sales executives, all their waterfront villas and solar cottages have breathtaking views of the lagoon or beach and come fully-furnished by award-winning interior designer, Samuel Amoia. 76% of the villas are sold, and the rest are for sale. Ownership at Itz’ana provides exclusive luxury living, and remarkable investment returns, bringing a unique opportunity for passive income and turn-key personal enjoyment. The resort and residences also have a locavore restaurant, five-room spa and rum bar. The laid-back beach town offers access to the Belize Barrier Reef, prime waters for seasonally diving with whale sharks, which were recently deemed endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

According to an article in the New York Times, Placencia, Belize was chosen as one of the 52 places to go in 2017.

If you are interested, I can email you the master plan (everything with a red dot will show as under contract) with prices and floor plans for all villas. Included are 1 bedroom to 3 bedroom beach villas and 1 bedroom to 5 bedroom lagoon villas. I can schedule the call for you and give you additional how to offer information. Call me at (650) 483-4932 or rafaelcastrojr@gmail.com

Visit the picture gallery at: http://www.itzanabelize.com/gallery/

 

 

Are You a Super Dad?

Super Dads
What is a Super Dad? Are you one?

As a dad, mom or family member, how do traditional roles affect the way you see and buy real estate? What types of properties are you interested in?

I receive many phone calls on parents looking to purchase homes for their children, even if they are not of age yet. Please give me a call at 650 483-4932 on some ideas on what you can do now to better prepare for their future.

4 Things Your Home Inspector May Miss

home inspecting
          The Home Inspection

I like home inspectors, they do a nice job for my seller and buyer clients, and the reports they generate point out items to watch out for and may cost money to fix. According to a Realtor.com article, home inspectors have checklists that contain more than 1,600 features to evaluate. But some items require a specialist for a more thorough evaluation:

The Fireplace and Chimney

Inspectors often open and shut dampers to make sure they’re working properly. They may shine a flashlight up the chimney to look for any obstructions. But for anything further, buyers likely will need to hire a fireplace inspector to look for things like soot and creosote buildup, which are possible fire-starters. Those extra inspections could cost anywhere from $80 to $200.

Foundation Issues

A geotechnical or structural engineer may need to be brought in if a buyer has concerns about the ground underneath the home, such as whether any shifting, tilting, or sinkholes have caused damage. Professionals will test the soil for several potential problems. Basic testing likely will cost between $300 and $1,000, while more invasive testing can cost upwards of $5,000. Buyers on a budget might consult a free site called PlotScan, which reveals any history of sinkholes and other natural catastrophes in the vicinity of the home, to better understand whether they need further inspection help.

Well and Septic Systems

Although our area does not have many wells or septic systems, this can be an issue for some home buyers. Some home inspectors trained to evaluate septic systems may be willing to do an extra inspection for an added fee to test a home’s well water and septic system. Otherwise, buyers will have to hire a well inspector. These professionals will collect water samples to test in a lab for coliform, arsenic, and other harmful bacteria and chemicals. They’ll also make sure that seals, vents, and screens have been properly maintained and that the well and pump are producing enough water. That typically will cost about $250 for an inspection.

Roof

“We’ll go up on roofs if it’s safe,” says Frank Lesh, executive director of the American Society of Home Inspectors. “But if it’s raining or it’s too high, we’re not able to get to it.” A specialized roof inspection, which costs about $500 to $750, offers a closer look. Some roof inspectors will even do an initial consultation for free. Those who don’t go on the roof can sometimes conduct an infrared inspection to look for any temperature differences along the roof to see where heat or air conditioning might be escaping.

The Lesson: if you believe you need a better inspection in these 4 area, you are advised to take a better look through a specialist. Let me know if you are interested in buying or selling real estate and if you would like to know what to look for in a home inspection report.  650 483-4932.

Why Buy a House in the Summertime?

Summertime House Buying
Why Buy a House in the Summertime?

Why consider buying a house in the Summertime? According to Realtor.com, home prices peak from June to August, but there are advantages to buying during the market’s busiest season.

Some reasons why for the home price peak, are amount of inventory, interest rates and the local job market. There are more homes for sale in the summer than in the winter as well as sales of homes.

However, more inventory means more choices, making buyers “feel more confident in their search because additional properties hit the market every week,” says Sarah Lilly of Five Star Lakeshore Real Estate. “The large inventory offers significantly more opportunities for purchasers to identify specific floor plans, amenities, and locations.

Also, with more properties for sale, buyers may have more leverage in negotiating prices. Those who need to sell their current home to purchase another, may find it easier to do so in the summer months.

In any case, if you are currently in the market to purchase a property, but are getting out-bid time after time (and then seeing a “Pending” sign like the one above) , give me a call, as I have a strategy to make your offer stand out, and have a better chance at getting it accepted—650 483-4932–Rafael.

10 Open House Red Flags

Open House Red Flags
10 Red Flags at an Open House

In competitive markets, like ours, you often will walk into an open house that most likely has been deep cleaned, scented, upgraded and staged to impress you. However, you should proceed with caution.

Here are 10 red flags to guide you in an open house (which I suggest you DO NOT do on your own for many reasons, but instead have a competent Realtor accompany you).
Red flag No. 1: Too much scent
The more aggressive the scent, the greater the likelihood the seller is taking precautions to mask a more offensive odor.
Take a deep whiff in every room you enter, and look closely at walls, ceilings, and flooring for signs of pet accidents, mildew, or smoke.
Red flag No. 2: Poor tiling
It may indicate a Do-It-Yourself job, which may or may have not been done properly and other potential flooring problems may be present.
Red flag No. 3: Foundation issues
Most houses have hairline cracks, which just indicate the house is settling (or has settled) into its position, but large gaps may signal bigger issues. Other things to look at: sticky doors, visible cracks above the doors or windows.
Red flag No. 4: Signs of deferred maintenance
This can be something simple like burned-out light bulbs, long grass, leaky faucets, or faded paint. What constitutes good maintenance? Flushing the water heater annually, changing the air filters at appointed times, inspecting the roof for leaks, and making sure the house is ready for all-year weather.
Red flag No. 5: Nearby water
If the house is near a creek or the Bay, it may look great, with beautiful views. But with the rainy season (which was off the charts this Winter), will it flood, or has is flooded? Will it be insurable for flood risk? It can very expensive.

Red flag No. 6: Windows That Don’t Operate Correctly
Take a second to pull back the curtains to check for uneven frames, and then give the windows a tug to make sure they slide easily. If they stick, it could be a sign of foundation issues, poor installation, or inferior quality windows—the only fix being expensive—new windows!
Red flag No. 7: Mold
To detect possible signs of mold while wandering through an open house, discreetly open bathroom and sink cabinets to take a look around water pipes or drains, Even small black or gray spots indicate that more serious issues may be lurking.
Red flag No. 8: Water damage
A musty odor can indicate water damage, even if you don’t see standing water. Check walls and ceilings for water lines; they likely indicate flooding from a leak or a burst pipe that may have caused internal damage. Also, take a peek at exposed piping in basements or laundry rooms, and check for rust, water stains, or leaking.
Red flag No. 9: Cosmetic enhancements
That one freshly painted wall could be an accent wall, or it could be hiding something like a patch of mold. You can lift area rugs to check hardwood flooring, making sure they’re not stained or damaged by pets.
Red flag No. 10: Improper ventilation
Without adequate interior ventilation, moisture sticks around, which can create mold and increase allergies. The tipoff: Look for condensation on windows or slightly bubbled or peeling paint around windows, doors, or vents. This can indicate moisture in the walls and ceiling drywall.
The bottom line on the open house: Be attentive, knowing that the home inspection you will order (when your offer is accepted, for example) will most likely detect many of these problems, but knowing about them will help you the next time you are at an open house.
I always attend open houses with my clients, and we regularly go through a list of things to look out for. Call me at 650 483-4932 and we can work together to make sure your next house will be worth it.

 

Why You Won’t Buy a House

Qualifying for a loan
Loan For a House?

A Reason You Won’t Buy a House

One of the reasons you won’t buy a house is because you can’t come up with the 20% down needed for the down payment, right?

It’s true that having a bigger down payment cuts the overall costs associated with getting a mortgage loan: borrowers likely will have to pay higher costs over the life of the loan – including higher interest rates and usually mortgage insurance.

However, according to a National Association of Realtors profile report, for the past three years, the median down payment for first-time buyers has been 6 percent and 14 percent for repeat buyers. But, when consumers are asked about the down payment amount they need to buy, 87 percent of non-owners say that a down payment of 10 percent or more is necessary.

The Wall Street Journal also reports that some lenders are luring more home buyers back by waiving mortgage-related fees and even showing more acceptance of allowing down payments to be made by others, such as the borrower’s family members.

So, what does this mean for you? There are mortgage options available for creditworthy borrowers with manageable levels of debt and smaller down payments. If you are interested in buying your first home in 2017, you should do the following:

1) Review your finances,

2) Sit down with a lender to see how you can qualify for a mortgage, and

3) Call me at (650) 483-4932 to help me find your home!

rafaelcastrojr@gmail.com   650 483-4932