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/

 

 

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

How To Choose a Real Estate Agent

Picking a Real Estate Agent
How Do I Choose a Real Estate Agent?

How To Choose a Real Estate Agent

Selecting the right agent is the first and most important step in helping you sell your home for the most money, in the least amount of time, with the least inconvenience to you. So, how do you choose a Real Estate Agent? What questions should you be asking them?

The real estate universe is full of people who sell real estate. Some agents are hard working, focused and great communicators, both with their clients, other real estate agents and the public . There are others, unfortunately, that are not. Whether you’re a buyer or seller, here are 8 ways on understanding on how to assess a real estate agent’s abilities to help you achieve your buyer or seller objectives, by looking at the major events in the real estate transaction.

The 8 Major Events in a Real Estate Transaction:

  • Overall Marketing Management. Experience in marketing. Ask the agent their AND their company’s history on what they do. What real estate education or Designations do they have, which will help them help you? What local and worldwide networks do they belong to? What is their local market share? How quickly did their listed homes sell? What is their Expiration Ratio (how many listings resulted in a closed sale)? Can you request and receive the agent’s references and recent clients? Why do they charge the commission they are proposing? (most importantly how do they react to this question? See more in point 8)
  • Exposure to Other Real Estate Agents. What method(s) do they use to communicate with other top agents? Why do they compensate what they do to the other agent? Do they do office tours, agent open houses and agent networking? Can they show you how they have done it with their last clients?
  • Exposure to The Public. What is their marketing plan, strategy and implementation for your particular home? What is their: 1) Mass Market, 2) Local Level , 3) Neighborhood exposure, and 4) In-home  marketing plan? Do they have a single page flyer they can give you on the spot on some top marketing ideas they will be doing?
  • Securing Buyer Prospects. How does the agent respond to prospect inquires? For example, how does the agent convert a phone call into an actual showing of your home? How long does it take to respond to a 1) Phone call or text, 2) an e-mail? What systems are used to capture prospects and to respond to questions on your home? Do they answer their own sign calls?
  • Preparing Your Home For Sale. What guidance takes place to prepare the home to make it most appealing to the maximum amount of buyers without breaking the bank? Does the agent provide insurance and warranties? How will they keep you from potential lawsuits after your home has sold? How will they communicate to you the showings and interest in your home? What if you don’t want a key box safe installed on your front door?
  • Their Negotiating and Closing Skills. This is perhaps the area which is the most misunderstood and least talked about when a homeowner interviews his/her prospective real estate agent. The agents skills will almost always determine what you will get in the end. For example, ask them what are the most common buyer objections, and how they will overcome them? How do they treat low-balling, or a really high offer?  What do they do to get the buyer to a binding contract and stick to it until the selling process is complete? What education do they have for selling your home? Do they have the SRS—Seller Representative Specialist designation, recognized by the National Association of Realtors (NAR)?
  • Getting The Deal Done. Ask how the agent manages the entire closing process. How will they respond to problems, as they are guaranteed to come out during the closing process? How do they handle the closing calendar? Do they have a licensed, experienced assistant that is an expert in doing all the important paperwork? When do they communicate with you, the seller, on what needs to get done, how and why? How and when will they update you?
  • Getting Your Final Equity Payment. Once the above major events are successfully completed, you will receive your hard earned money!! Something to note is the agent should be able to discuss what they charge in commission and why. Also, what they pay for out of their own pocket to get your home sold for the most amount of money in the least amount of time.

Call me at 650 483-4932 to give you my detailed marketing management plan and for you to ask me how I will manage these 8 Major Events in selling your home, and possibly helping you with your next purchase.