Customers that give non-refundable deposits to resort projects that are not yet built, are doing so primarily on the trust of the company. What might seem like a good deal could cost an investor in such a property dearly. Take for instance the project in Mexico recently that went belly up prior to being completed. Everyone lost all their deposits, investments and money. Worse, the company doing the project was part of the Trump Corporation, and had their name on it.Since this project was in Mexico, there was little if anything anyone could do, there was no money left in bankruptcy for anyone, nothing left, all gone, and that is all she wrote. And it could not have come at a worse time, with the overall stock market down, even more alarming was the fact that many of the folks that put money down, did so to have a place for their retirement in Mexico. Now their dream is gone along with all the money they gave.For some these deposits were for speculation or vacation homes, and even though they could never have imagined the whole thing going bankrupt and their money all disappearing, they can recover from it and chock it up for experience. And maybe that’s the purpose of this article, maybe you too can remember this so you are not caught with the same bad experience.Real Estate law is not as cut and dry as you might think and when you are dealing with investments in other nations, especially speculative resort properties like this you are gambling, so make sure you understand that and act accordingly. Please consider this.
It’s no secret that same sex couples are not created equal. Not only with general discrimination that exists, but being allowed to legally wed (in most states), adding your significant other to your health care plan, or even buying a home together proves to be a challenge. With the new real estate laws and same sex couples, they may now have one up on this jaded system we call “constitutional.”The Supreme Court has dismissed the existing law that identifies marriage as a joining of a man and a woman. This might be a small step to the general population, but it is huge to gay couples. And while it does not remove all of the other obstacles that they still face, it is a step in the right direction.So what does this have to do with real estate? Well, the Supreme Court has recently ruled that a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unlawful. For gay and married couples, this means changes that will affect the mortgage interest tax deduction and VA Home loans.Married gay couples, who until now have not been unable to claim this tax deduction, will now be able to file tax returns jointly. In the past, these couples living in states that allowed gay marriage would not allow couples to file joint tax returns. Since this ruling, DOMA must recognize same sex marriage just as a marriage between a man and a woman, and as such, they will now have the same rights when it comes to the mortgage interest tax deduction.When it comes to VA loans there is still plenty of work to be done. Currently, a married gay veteran who would like to obtain a VA loan cannot include his/her partner as a spouse on the application. This is because the federal rules require the spouse to be of the opposite sex. While a joint loan is possible, if both are veterans, the VA only allows a portion of the loan to married gay applicants. What a way to treat those who service our country, wouldn’t you say?While we as a country, are nowhere near treating gay couples equally when it comes to the laws and how they are applied to same sex couples and what we call “traditional marriage,” continued small strides and wins are definitely helping.Perhaps one day we will all be treated equally. While that is too far down the road for any of us see, maybe one day it will happen. Until then, rulings such as this will help ensure that any gay couple who wishes to buy a home is not discriminated against because of their sexual preference.
Many people visit Jamaica and are enamoured by the beautiful landscape and fabulous real estate. For many of them though the complex procedures involved in buying Jamaican real estate in Jamaica is a deterrent. The process by which legal title in land in Jamaica is transferred is called conveyancing and there are many reputable attorneys who practise in this field. The Jamaican conveyancing law and procedures are based on the old English common law and the torrens title system. While the property laws in England have changed over the years, the Jamaican laws have not been updated and so many foreigners who are accustomed to a quicker course of action believe that in Jamaica it is too long and expensive and some believe unnecessarily bureaucratic. It is for this reason that it is recommended that anyone buying or selling real estate in Jamaica employ the services of an attorney who specializes in conveyancing.Most but not all properties in Jamaica are registered at the National Land Agency commonly referred to as the Titles Office. Some owners have common law title to their properties but it is recommended that a buyer purchase from a landowner with registered title or request him to apply for a registered title. It is easier to validate a registered title. In addition it has several other advantages including but not limited to the fact that it is a fairly simple document which provides proof of ownership of property which is clearly described. Furthermore if a buyer will need to use the title as security for mortgage financing then a registered title is typically better received by the financial institutions.The typical conveyancing transaction in Jamaica takes about 12 weeks or 90 days after the contract is duly executed to completion. This is standard but it can take longer especially if the Purchaser is buying the property with a loan from a financier.During the pre-contract stage the Purchaser should:o view the property thoroughly. Home inspections as conducted in the United States are not usually a condition of the contract so buyers must be ready to decide whether they are willing to take this upon themselves or bear the risk of buying real estate with expensive obvious defects.o negotiate the price either directly with the vendor or through a realtor or the vendor’s attorney.o search the title to make sure the Vendor is indeed the owner, the property on the ground corresponds to the address you visited and to determine if there are any caveats on the title.o arrange the deposit (this is usually 15%)o if getting mortgage loan visit a reputable financial institution to see if you pre-qualify.During the contract stage, you must discuss the terms of contract with your attorney, determine all your closing costs, obtain any amendments if necessary, sign the contract and pay the deposit. It is strongly recommended that you employ your own attorney instead of having joint representation with the Vendor’s attorney.During the post contract stage the Purchaser should:o obtain his signed duplicate contract and his stamped receipt for the deposit,o comply with the requirements of the mortgage institutiono obtain mortgage commitmento sign Instrument of transfer and mortgage deed and,o pay closing costs and any cash balance purchase priceOn completion the purchaser should get his title, keys, letters of possession, letters to the utility companies and proof of payment of water rates, property taxes and other outgoings. If he had financed the purchase through a mortgage institution the title will be forwarded to said institution but he should ask to obtain a copy for his records.
All investments carry with them some degree of risk. The same is true with real estate investing. Despite the promise of high rewards you should be aware with the risks involved are more often than not just as high as the potential rewards. This is why you need to take every possible precaution in order to minimize your losses whenever possible or at the very least are prepared, financially and mentally to accept the consequences of those risks if the time comes.How can you protect your investment?Know the real estate laws. It doesn’t matter if you are a novice or a savvy investor, ignorance of the rights and regulations can put your investment at risk. You don’t have to become an attorney, but you should be brush up on the laws that govern the market.Stay educated with the current economic climate. Is the economy in general still improving? What is unemployment high? What was the rate of new home construction in the last five years? All of these variables are good indicators of whether property values will rise, level off, or even see a correction.Consider putting down a large down payment when purchasing a property, at least 10%. Most novice investors might think that going with zero down loans is a great way to dive into real estate investing, but zero down loans are very risky. Putting down a large down payment will give you instant equity, reducing your interest rate. This will obviously reduce your cash on hand, but it will lower your risk and increase the capital of your investment.Adjustable Rate Mortgages allow investors to purchase property with less cash and an attractively low relative rate. There are 1 year adjustable rate mortgages 5 year, even 7 year. the number signifies how long the offered rate is good for. After this period, the lender adjusts the rate according to the current interest rate.However, if you keep the property longer, that low rate can climb several percentage points. Unless you sell or pay down the principle on the property you can expect to be stuck with higher monthly payments.As the adjustable rate mortgage goes up, property values are under pressure to level off or even decrease because of the rise in interest rates. Your investment gets hit twice. Of course, it’s possible for rates to go down, but that’s less common and refinance is usually toward a fixed rate, in those cases.So, instead of being risky, take a long term view. Invest as much as you can up front, make at least one extra payment per year, lean toward fixed rate mortgages of the minimum length you can afford. A 15 year mortgage pays down the principle quicker, so you spend less on interest, increases your equity rapidly, and usually carries a lower rate.Playing it safe will ensure maximum return on your investment with minimal risk.