Tag Archives: Chrystal Safari

How to Buy a Better House for Less Than Paying Rent + Reduce Your Taxes Every April 15

You can buy a better home than your current rental property and reduce your tax bill every April 15th.

Many renters who’ve never owned a home are unaware of the specific benefits of home ownership.  Not only will owning a well-chosen home help you grow an appreciating asset increasing your overall net worth, but it can also reduce your taxable income and reduce your tax liability every April 15.  The end result is that the home you purchase will cost LESS per month than the rental over the year, and you’ll have a better property with no chance of price increase, and control over what you do to make it home.

Here’s how it works:

Screenshot 2016-04-03 14.46.40

In this example, the future home owner is paying rent perhaps between $1100 – $1300.  It’s possible to purchase a home for $265,000* and pay a mortgage payment equivalent of only $1316 with the Estimated Tax Benefit.  That includes:

Principal, Interest, Taxes Insurance and PMI.

What would you rather pay?

  1. $1300 a month on a property that can never be yours or increase your net worth OR pay
  2. $1316 a month for a beautiful property that’s yours?

You’ll be paying someone’s mortgage, why not pay your own and also reduce your taxes to Uncle Sam?!

For a private and confidential strategy session meeting, give me a call.  704.562.1030 Text for Faster Service

*This specific scenario figures a down payment amount of $9,276 and up front PMI Fee of $4,475 at an interest rate of 3.875%, dependent on the borrower’s personal credit scores.

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My first experience calling a REALTOR® ended in him hanging up the phone on chrystal (2)me.  Turns out, I ‘didn’t make enough money’ as a college student to be worth his time.  I didn’t give up! I found a builder, built a brand new home, and never looked back.  Call me.  We’ll see what you need to put into place to move from renter to homeowner!  Late is not too late.

How to Hire a Contractor to do Work in Your Home

home work  An important aspect of hiring a contractor to do work in your home is to understand what permits, special requirements or licensure are required for each job.  Once that’s understood, you can know whether it’s best to hire a licensed contractor or a handyman.

REFERRALS
Be sure to ask for referrals and references and know the relationship of those referring parties to the contractor. Ask for pictures of installations on similar jobs that have been performed for others and give those referring parties a call or visit to ask how the work was performed, the attitude during the job, coming in on budget and wrapping up on time.  Discover if there are any negative remarks online or with the BBB.   Be sure he or she is qualified to handle the scope and type of work needed, especially with regard to special conditions such as lead based paint, asbestos, mold, etc.

IDENTITY
If the home is occupied, if personal items are stored there or is otherwise notid_verified vacant, be sure to qualify your contractor if he’s unknown to you through online services such as mysmartmove.com or others.  Get a copy of the contractors driver’s license and have him sign a w-9 to include his social security number.  If you’re an investor and renovations are common for you, you may want to investigate the Verify Photo ID app recommended by Inman News.

CONTRACT
Next, execute an Independent Contractor Agreement with your contractor. Be certain it has no verbiage or requirements to suggest the contractor is an employee of yours.

PHASES
Now is the time to outline and understand the three phases of the renovation. The initial Phase One is paid on day 1 of the job.  The subsequent draws for Phases Two and Three should be paid by the week, on a Monday or Tuesday. In constructing the phases, the contractor should budget for each item and any overages or misquote is the responsibility of the contractor, not the homeowner. Make sure your agreement covers things such as milestones, and outlines the scope and sequence of the work to be completed. The contract should include the description of all work, and condition of Customer Satisfaction such as all items completed in a workman like manner, job site left clean and tidy daily, and no items incomplete.

MATERIALS
selecting-the-right-color-bigIdeally the home owner should have chosen paint colors, sheens, types for each space, cabinets, granite and whatever materials will be used in the project at the source. Have your Independent Contractor pay for those materials and have that provider deliver the materials to the job site, then reimburse the contractor immediately – this strategy avoids any appearance of establishing an employee/employer relationship. Do not pay for routine tools and supplies the contractor uses in his everyday business such as paint brushes, ladders tarps , etc.

UPDATES
If you’re not the owner occupant at the job site, require the contractor to provide daily pictures and videos of each phase when complete before scheduling a personal inspection and before payment on that phase is released.  An investor can use this in the future or marketing.

COMPLETION
In exchange for the final payment the homeowner should sign off that he is satisfied with the job, and the independent contractor should sign that he is releasing all liens in exchange for final payment.

For a No Obligation Sample Copy of my Independent Contractor Agreement, email me.  I’ll be glad to help.  Chrystal.Roy@RERCharlotte.com | 980.355.9025

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cbs isaChrystal Safari Roy, Broker in Charge of RER Charlotte, an Investor-Centric Real Estate Firm bringing you from Purchase to Portfolio located in SouthPark Towers, has over 20 years experience in investing, personal property management and residential real estate sales and is a licensed REALTOR® in North and South Carolina.  As a MASTERS Designation holder, she is a specialist in New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, Technology, and is a multi-million dollar producer.  Chrystal is a Certified Military Residential Specialist, Luxury Home Specialist, and HUD Registered Agent.  View all our properties at RERCharlotte.com.

Don’t Low Ball That Offer!

Do you know the difference between cost, price and value?

ImageWhen it comes to the real estate transaction, a low ball offer is probably one of the worst things that you can deliver when you come up to bat.

Facing the Consequences

Low balling an offer to the seller or landlord usually has grave consequences.  No matter the financial position of the seller or landlord, right off the bat, you risk insulting them.  The most common responses are to counter the offer at the original full price, refuse to counter, or for the transaction to become a series of balls and strikes with multiple counter offers, usually ending in someone fouling out. The buyer or tenant may eventually get the price that they want, but the cost will be the loss of goodwill in the transaction and more.

Setting the Stage for the Duration

Once woundedness occurs, it is very difficult for that change and for the wounded party to Imagerecover.  This is also true with bank committees representing short sales and foreclosures who have no emotional attachment to the home because they are managed by people with emotions whose work environment and nature of the transaction tends to create high stress situations.

Once ill will is established in the transaction, it can promote breakdown in other areas such as negotiation for repairs or lease renewal or extension.

Questions to Ask First

Before you make that low ball offer ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Do I really understand the cost of my low ball offer?
  2. Is my offer based on similar nearby homes that have recently sold or leased at the same condition, type, and price range?
  3. Would I want a buyer or tenant to do the same thing to me if I were in his shoes?
  4. What is my REALTOR recommending?
  5. What is my plan B if this doesn’t work?

You Make the Market

ImageAfter you have sincerely considered the questions and are comfortable with the possible outcomes, go ahead and make your best advised offer.  Until you make your offer, even if by necessity low due to property condition, market conditions, and recently appraised values, you never really know what might work for the other party.  However, be advised.  What you pay will become your very own comparable for your future appraised value certainly for the next 6 to 12 months establishing your own neighborhood market price. And you’re sure to become the talk of the next neighborhood bar-b-q, having established a downward trend for neighborhood values for everyone for months or even years to come!

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ImageChrystal is a REALTOR® and principal of The Safari Group, a local, homegrown real estate firm, specializing in all phases of the residential and small business real estate market.  Celebrating over 20 years in tenant procurement and rental portfolio development, and over 13 years in general residential brokerage in the Charlotte Metro Market, Chrystal offers guidelines to assist tenants, home buyers and sellers in evaluating today’s real estate market for maximum leverage.  In the TOP 5% Nationwide for closing the transaction with Estately, Inc, a national referral company, she can assist you with all your real estate related needs. Contact her today for more at 704.562.1030 TXT/PH or Chrystal@TheSafariGroup.com  Join the conversation on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheSafariGroupRealty

Navigating a Charlotte Area Short Sale

Prior to listing a property for sale, the seller must document hardship and the inability to pay the promised mortgage to receive approval from the lending bank to allow a short sale. Those documents must be updated monthly. Once the property is listed, showings and offers begin.

From a buyer’s point of view, once he’s decided to make an offer, the homeowner accepts, rejects or negotiates the offer. If and when all terms are agreed upon, the home goes under contract with the homeowner. The Offer to Purchase and Contract package is sent to the lender’s loan liquidation department along with a proposed HUD or settlement statement.

From there, an asset manager, sometimes called a file manager, is assigned. That can take hours to days, depending upon the bank’s volume of sales in the short sale department. Once the asset manager is assigned, all paperwork is forwarded and reviewed. Back up offers from other interested sellers are also received and submitted for consideration.

If all goes well, within 30 days or so, the investor who purchased the loan from the bank reviews the Offers/Contracts and decides whether or not he also accepts the terms offered. The bank then communicates the decision back to the seller who lets all parties know the verdict.

Behind the scenes, the bank must also eliminate or settle any second mortgage or other liens to make way for a clear title to be transferred to the buyer. Title companies won’t issue a title policy assuring no one else can step forward to claim ownership with any money still owed.

It can take as many as long as 6 months to iron out all the details. At any time, until the day and time of closing when the documents are signed and recorded, the investor may accept any other offer and bump the buyer’s to a null position.

Because many buyers don’t stay in the game for the duration, and for other reasons, fewer than 40% of short sales close. The property then becomes a foreclosure owned outright by the bank. It’s negotiated simply and can close in 15 days for a cash buyer, 30 days for conventional loan, and 45 days for an FHA loan.

It takes a special kind of dedicated buyer to pass by all other listings and continue hammering through a short sale for weeks and months at a time with no update from the bank. It you think that’s you, let’s talk. There are many great deals out there. Call me to discuss your big picture. 704-562-1030

Relocating to MorningStar and Heritage International Ministries?

Whether you’re moving across town or around the world to join the church body or team at Morningstar or Heritage International Ministries, as your preferred RelocationTM Specialist, I’m here to help.  There are many great real estate options available, whether you’ll have students at Comenius School of Creative Leadership, or be living on or off campus as a student of MorningStar University, a resident of Heritage Court, or a resident of the Refirement Center, Heritage Towers, the premiere, luxury high rise active adult community.

Whatever your need, short or long-term rental, or purchase at any price point, the Fort Mill, Lancaster, Tega Cay, and South Charlotte areas has much to offer.  

Local real estate values are great, and selection is high.  Call me and we’ll discuss your big picture.  I’ll begin sending properties that match your criteria to inform you of market values and arrange a discovery tour.

I recently toured the model at Heritage Court, a beautiful, upgraded private residence with well-appointed features and WOW! amenities.  From luxurious, sustainable products and green features such as granite countertops and floor-to-ceiling windows, the unit is top of the line.  Two floor plan choices are available: the Bethesda at 784 square feet, one bed and 1.5 bath, and the Bethany, 1170 square feet with 2 beds, 2 baths.  Both floor plans are available on the first and fourth floors.  Pre-construction pricing ends soon.

Reservations are now being taken for the Heritage Towers, the on-campus high rise adult community with luxury fit, finish and amenities that can’t be matched anywhere in the area.  The concept isn’t just a luxury home.  Whether it will be your primary home or your second home, the goal of Heritage Towers is to gather a like-spirited body of believers together to bond in fellowship to advance your calling and its fit with the goal of the Kingdom.  But the beautiful, upgraded, maintenance-free homes with more than 10 floor plan choices, located near shopping, dining, golfing, and the highway aren’t bad, either! 

Whether you’ll make either the Heritage Court or Towers your primary or second residence, you’ll be equally impressed and blessed with the value, both practical and spiritual, you’ll receive.

Please contact me and I’ll schedule a personal tour of the ministry campus and model home for you.  I look forward to meeting with you.  Ask me about special lodging rates when you schedule your tour and select to work with me as your expert buyer’s agent.

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Chrystal is a REALTOR® and principal of The Safari Group, a local, homegrown real estate firm, specializing in all phases of the residential and small business real estate market, including New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, Technology, Foreclosures, Short Sales, and Luxury Homes and GREEN Features.  She is one of the fewer than 30 internationally recognized EcoBrokers® in the Charlotte Metro Market, offering guidelines to assist home buyers and sellers in evaluating true green features and their benefits to real property value, home ownership, tax savings and mortgage closing table capital contributions.  Chrystal is backed by certified and insured professionals to assess and protect your energy utilizing investments.  Contact her at 704.562.1030 TXT/PH or Chrystal@TheSafariGroup.com

Investment Properties

Experienced and green investors evaluate potential investment properties very differently.  Both should follow a few similar guidelines.

When considering an income property, the first decision is to establish your targeted rental client.  The property you choose may limit the pool of prospective tenants, but not in the way you’d hoped.  If you’re targeting young professionals, location, features, amenities and potential rental rate will be very different than that for a future tenant who is just entering the market as a first-time renter still in school or just entering the workforce who needs to be located near public transportation.

Next is to determine, based on your targeted client, the location, features, amenities and rental rate for your likely renter.  A good rule of thumb is to purchase a property you wouldn’t mind living in yourself, and the closer to home the better.  Long-distance land lording is not advisable. 

Though some landlords feel it’s too close for comfort, a rental in your own neighborhood will allow you to keep an eye on your property, and to know first if anything begins to go wrong.  No matter where you purchase, always introduce yourself to the neighbors and give them your cell number and tell them to call you before they call the police, if the need arises.

Now that you’ve found the right property at what looks like the right price, it’s time to confirm that with a rental rate estimate based on the currently rented homes in the area before you make the purchase.  Your experienced REALTOR® can help with that.

If the rental rate estimate looks promising, consider the condition of the property.  Is it just dated or dilapidated?  Has it been updated in the last 5 years?  Or does it need a major overhaul?  Floor plan issues are best left to the pros.  For a positive return on your investment, kitchen updates shouldn’t cost more than 10% of the home’s value.  That’s true for any renovation. 

Determine your level of ability to make changes that would make your rental number one with interested consumers.  Choose materials and products that require less routine care and maintenance, and factor in the timeframe to complete and cost for each.  Add 20% to your budget for unexpected delays and overages.  Your REALTOR® can provide a list of licensed, preferred vendors to help with any repairs, maintenance, or renovations needed.

If the total cost of the project meets with your overall budget, it’s time to get the property under contract, begin advertising for a renter, and screen and hire your renovation team.

Next up, how to screen for good tenants.

Luxury Homes

Luxury. Elegance. Refinement. Many words come to mind when thinking of luxury. The same is true when thinking of Luxury Homes. Luxury Homes in our market are defined by their presence, spaces, materials, features, and locations.

So, what makes a home a luxury home? If luxury is something enjoyable or comfortable beyond life’s necessities, in many ways, we all live in some level of luxury.

I know Luxury Homes. In our market, luxury homes begin at about $700,000. Of course, at the moment, $1.5 million is the new $700,000.

A true luxury home is not just one of size, but of presence. It must look grand from the curb and include the look of comfort and pleasure from the lawn to the exterior building materials. In our market, most houses over $500,000 include hardcoat stucco as a building material, either as an accent or main feature. Other building materials included are stone, and brick. Special features such as a circular drive, fountain, or guard house add to the persona of the home.

There are large homes with upgrades that may approach $700,000, but in contrast, a Charlotte area luxury home is defined by its spaces. A paneled den or study is a must for true luxury homes in our area. So, too, is a media room. Some of the best I’ve seen rival high end hotel or private club media rooms. Other spaces typical of luxury homes include walk-in pantries, wine rooms, wine cellars and libraries. I personally don’t like to see Jack and Jill baths (two bedrooms joined by a common bathroom) in anything over $1,000,000.

In the good ole days, a true luxury home in the Charlotte market began at $180 per square foot and beyond. In this current climate, few are being built, but those that are still include custom floor plans and are still being up fitted with well-appointed features and materials.

Some unique materials included in luxury homes consist of on-site hand milled paneling, such as would be seen in a paneled den or study, or a custom handcrafted stained glass ceiling feature. Others feature award-winning hand hewn stone fireplaces carved from such exotic places as the Yucatan Peninsula, and fashioned on-site. Media rooms feature the highest resolution projectors available on the market, and some feature whole-house Smart House systems, integrating IT, Surveillance, and Energy Efficiency.

For a complete list of luxury homes available in the Charlotte Metro area, email your request with phone number. I’ll follow up after you’ve had a chance to review the offerings.