February 26th, 2015 by Mike Cooper
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May 23rd, 2014 by Mike Cooper
May 22nd, 2014 by Mike Cooper
March 24th, 2014 by Mike Cooper
Homeowners know that a mortgage is a great way to buy a house. But, too many don’t realize just how much a mortgage can run the price of house up over the course of a loan.
If I told you that I would sell you a $200,000 house for $364,813.42 you would never do it, but a 30 year mortgage can run the purchase price of a house up $164,813.42 in interest at 4.5% over a 30 year mortgage.
There are ways to reduce that number that are simple and within reach. Anytime you take out a mortgage, make sure you have the privilege of pre-paying principal without penalties. Let me show you how this works.
Let’s start with a $200,000 mortgage with the first payment beginning January 1st. Interest is loaded on the front of your mortgage, so your early payments are predominately interest. Let me give you an example. Payment one is $1013.37. Of that fee, only $263.37 is paid on the principal. The remaining $750.00 is interest. On month 2, your second payment is $1013.37 of which $264.36 is principal and $749.01 is interest.
So, in two months, you have paid $527.73 in principal and $1499.01 in interest. Now, if you add the principal of the second month with your first payment you can skip the interest onpayment two. So, on January 1 you would pay $1277.73. That eliminates $749.01 in interest from your loan.
In February, you would pay payment 3. Payment 2 has been paid with the January payment – minus the interest which you won’t ever pay. In February, if you paid the principal of month 4, $266.34, you can skip the interest of $747.03. In two payments, you have reduced your overall mortgage costs by $1496.04 in interest. If you repeat that every month throughout your mortgage, you can radically reduce the overall interest costs of your mortgage. There is another way to pay your mortgage off early and reduce the overall interest. I’ll show that in the next blog.
February 23rd, 2014 by Mike Cooper
When I work with a client, whether it’s a buyer or seller, there are certain promises I can make that I never deviate from. Real estate, like any profession, has its high points and its low points. There are companies and agents who operate like true pros throughout the entire process, and there are those who are looking for a fast check for a limited amount of work.
I believe that second group is the minority, but they get a lot of attention when they abuse their clients, and that makes all of us look bad. When I work with a client, I can promise:
- I will always be honest. That means, if I think a low-ball offer doesn’t stand a chance of succeeding, I will tell you. I will still write the contract if you insist, but I will caution you before it’s submitted. I will also tell you what I think you need to do to sell your house for the maximum amount.
- I will steer you to the best professional services I’m aware of to get your repairs and upgrades done. I will only steer you to people I have found to be honest, professional and a good value for the service. My license prohibits me from sending you to service providers who will kickback money to me. So, that means I have nothing to gain from recommending a service provider to you except to see you get the best service possible for the money. I rate my recommendations on three criteria. First, they must be honest. Second, they must be skilled, and third, they must provide a good service for the money.
- I will always work hard to get you the best deal. That means I will do everything possible to get you the most money for your sale. I will also do what I can to make sure you spend the least amount of money for your purchase. If a property is overpriced, I will tell you before you make an offer. I will do the same thing if you try to overprice your property.
- I will make every effort to educate you through the entire process. I know that Realtor-ese can be confusing at times. My goal is to make sure you know what’s going on at all times. I only ask that if you don’t understand something that you ask for clarification. I’m happy to give it.
- I will keep you up to date as much as possible as things unfold. You’ll need to let me know what level of communication you want when we begin. If nothing is happening, I may not call you and tell you that nothing is happening, but if that makes you feel better, I will.
- I will point out things that I think you need to consider when looking at a house. Since I am also a Virginia Contractor, I have no concerns about telling you if I see construction issues that need to be considered. A cracked foundation may be settling cracks, or they may be something more serious. If I see something, I will likely say something. I want your home-buying experience to end with a great deal, not a great deal of headaches.
- I will protect you from unscrupulous sellers, buyers, agents, lenders and closing companies. If I think someone is trying to take advantage of you, I will tell you. I’ve learned a lot of tricks over 20 years as a real estate investor. I can pick them up with little effort when I see someone else trying to use them to manipulate you throughout a deal.
- I will recommend the best lenders and best closing agents if you need that guidance. Here again, I use the best. The professionals I recommend, I also use for my own personal business needs. If I trust them, you can trust them.
- I will answer or return your calls, return your emails and respond to your texts as quickly as possible. I am not an abscentee agent once we sign a few documents. You can contact me anytime if you need something.
- I will always look out for your best interests. Your success is my success. I take it very personal when you trust me with your real estate needs, and I will do everything in my power to see that your experience is the very best I can provide.
The real estate business is a pretty diversified business, but it is still a people and service business. It is always my goal to see that my clients get the very best service they can because they are always the very best people.
My Ten Promises to My Real Estate Clients
January 11th, 2014 by Mike Cooper
How should Realtors relate to homeschooling families who are buying / selling homes? I’m sure a lot of you probably said, “Like everyone else,” and that would be true in most ways, but homeschooling families are a unique market.
When I had been married 6 years, my wife said, “If we have kids, I want to home-school them.” My response was, “What’s that?” I had no idea what homeschooling was or why anyone would want to do it. Well, that was 24 years ago, and I can say I loved every minute of it. My wife did all of the brainy stuff, and I got to teach the boys what I call, “The fun stuff.”
Both of my sons were home-schooled through 100% of their pre-college education. Both have excelled in academics, and now, in life. They are bright, inquisitive and forward thinkers. They love to read, they’re proficient in all math skills and they have perfected many fields beyond the basic 3 Rs. They could easily be the poster kids for homeschooling.
So, what should a Realtor know about homeschooling families in order to better meet their real estate needs? Homeschooling families typically teach their kids at home because they want them to have a broader more complete education. That means they need space. I taught my sons how to build their own computers when they were 9 and 11. Having space for two computers in parts was important. They spread out over half of our basement. Space is really important.
Most homeschooling families don’t set up a traditional classroom (at least not after the first year or so). The dining room often becomes the location of a great deal of the studies. The family room and living room would be a good second and third space. Each one of those rooms would need to be big enough to accommodate loads of books, computers, maps and experiments.
Oh yeah, there are lots of experiments. I used to come home from work, and the first thing I would be greeted with would be a mess, or what I perceived to be a mess. I learned early on to ask, “Is this homeschooling, or are the boys making a mess?” The boys took over the house. It was a stage, a lab, a bank, a studio, an operating room, a gym, a congressional hall, and so forth.
One night, we dissected an eyeball in our kitchen, and a brain as well. It wasn’t anyone we were close to. No actually, a friend had killed a deer, and he brought the head to our house to remove the brain and eyeballs. A deer’s eye is very much like a human eye. So, a good kitchen with lots of counter space would be important to a homeschooling family.
A large yard is also a valuable selling point to a homeschooling family. Most of these families don’t ignore phys-ed. Just because the student isn’t in a public classroom doesn’t mean that he / she doesn’t need to run, exercise and play.
Most homeschooling families will tell you that their primary role as a teacher is to help their kids learn how to think, not just to teach them how to parrot back information. Don’t be surprised if the kids are involved in the home-buying process. They may even know the language of real estate along with the math and the market data.
I taught my sons how to monitor the stock market, how to buy stocks and how to trade as a day trader. They also learned how to buy real estate for investment purposes and how to rehab a property. A lot of home-school kids are going to know things that surprise you, so don’t be annoyed if they ask 100 questions while in a property.
With 8 million families homeschooling their kids, this isn’t a segment of the population you want to ignore. Enjoy the video below. This is a 13 year old speaking at a Ted seminar. What were you going at 13?