Author Archives: Basil

About Basil

I am the producer of the Real Spaces television series and the administrator of the associated website, Realspacestt.com. After four seasons of the television series in Trinidad, I've been to scores of homes to shoot and produce for the series, and will try to impart what i've learned as an author on this blog.

STOP RENTING! Make the move to home ownership.

By Rhea-Simone Auguste

© Moon Light Rental Ltd.

Inflation and the high price of properties in popular areas have led to a mass dependence on rent. Many young people think they cannot afford a place of their own so they opt to pay rent for years. The average 2 bedroom apartment along the East/West corridor costs approximately $3000 per month. That quickly turns into $36,000 a year and in five years, you would have spent close to $180,000 on SOMEONE ELSE’S PROPERTY.

So, here’s the big question – how do you break the cycle of rent dependence and move to home ownership? It’s simple if you take things in small steps.

  1. Your down payment. To own a property, you must have the down payment and that means having at least 10% of the cost of the property you are interested in having. If you currently have a savings account and you are gainfully employed, I would recommend visiting your bank of choice to do a pre-qualification for mortgage. Your bankers would let you know how much you qualify for right now based on your savings and income.
  2. Start looking or let Moon Light Rental Ltd. do the looking for you. Looking at information in the classifed’s section of a newspaper is a great way to find properties but finding the time to do viewings repeatedly can be tedious. What we do is, we take your information and we scour the market – networking with other agents and collecting photographs to give you online viewings and our personal, honest opinion on properties. Trust me, if we see a house with termites in the roof or is in a flood-prone area – We will tell you because that’s just the Moon Light way of doing business. We love it when the right buyer finds the perfect space to call home.
  3. Consider building instead of buying pre-built. Here’s the thing, you can get land at a reasonable price and build in parts. Start with what your immediate needs are – a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and living room and then add bedrooms as you go along. This allows you to be flexible and you have more say in what your final product should look like. Plus – the added benefit to building your home is the value of your property will likely increase when you’ve finished building. Don’t be intimidated by building – embrace it and have fun picking your tiles, your fixtures and your paints. It’s a wonderful personal project to get involved in.

Home ownership is closer than you think. For more guidance tips and information, call Moon Light Rental Ltd now 221-8550 and let us take you from renter to owner this year.

Selling your home? Tips to get more from your sale!

By Rhea-Simone Auguste

(c) Moon Light Rental Ltd.

 

If you have decided to sell or rent your home, one of the first things you should do is walk the perimeter of your premises and critique your property. Imagine you are a prospective buyer/renter looking at the place for the first time. Is your property clean, well-maintained and free from defects? Is the yard clear of “junk” and debris and inviting to buyers who may have children and want the yard clutter-free?

Sometimes it may be difficult to see your home as anything but your home. It has been your sanctuary and all of the quirks and eccentricities that you added gave it the personal touches. However, prospective buyers/renters are less interested in personal touches and more interested in getting the best property for their money. They are looking for a perfect solution to their housing problem or an investment in a property that will yield a profit in years to come. The less problems they see with the property upfront – the better.

Most sellers are not interested in spending pre-sale of a house because they think it would cost too much to do so. But there are untold benefits of sprucing up your property before prospective buyers see it and topping the list of benefits is – your property can be soldfaster with minor improvements.

Here are some quick and inexpensive tips to improve the look of your home for prospective buyers/renters courtesy Moon Light Rental Ltd:

  1. De-clutter your yard! The first thing prospective customers see is your yard. If you have a lawn, have it trimmed before showings and ensure all walkways, drains and concrete areas are free of mould and dirt by power-washing or scrubbing with a solution of bleach and water. A clean yard is an inviting yard.
  2. Front porches/galleries should also be cleaned and made to look inviting to people who enjoy entertaining. If you have a nice patio set or simple chairs and an outside mat – arrange them as though you were expecting company. If the house is being sold/rented unfurnished – consider touch-painting so all surfaces look fresh and new.
  3. Inside the house: Two areas of a house can make/break a potential sale/rental – the kitchen and the bathroom(s). These areas MUST be cleaned thoroughly and the kitchen cupboards should be inspected pre-showing to ensure no insects have made your cupboards their home. The last thing a prospective customer wants is to open a cupboard and have a cockroach jump out and greet them. If your home has had problems with ants, invest in a simple TERRO liquid ant bait solution and place baits a few days before showings. Remember to remove all baits and dead insects before you show your place.
  4. Check your bathrooms and toilets thoroughly before you let prospective customers see your place. Make sure toilets are scrubbed clean and bathroom surfaces look clean to touch. Essentially your prospective customers should feel like the house is in move-in condition immediately.

You would be surprised to know the value of your property could go up by simply painting, power-washing and preparing it prior to a valuation or a sale.

Thinking about selling/renting your property? Give us a call at 221-8550 or 773-5468. Looking for a place to buy/rent, give us a call and let’s see if we could match you to your dream home.

Real Spaces is Expanding, writers / bloggers welcomed!

If you or someone you know is interested in contributing to our blog, send us a message! We’d love to hear from you. Real Spaces is fast becoming a Real Estate Marketing Brand in Trinidad and Tobago that speaks to the needs of both the Real Estate Market as well as the home owners that are renovating, refurbishing and reinventing their Real Spaces!

Got an article? Or just interested in trying out your skills………we’re waiting to hear from you…..:)

Got Junk? Real Spaces launches our free classifieds for persons selling or seeking stuff!

If your moving into or out of, most likely you will be on either side of the argument, but most times a person just moving out of an apartment, office or other location, is bound to have stuff that another person just moving into one will need. Enter the Real Spaces Classifieds. This is a free feature for all our visitors to reach out to persons that are pretty much going through the same drama you are, moving! So, its a great place to hawk your items that kept you company since you signed the lease, a year or two, or more ago!

You know what im talking about, If your moving from an apartment with a lawn that warranted your getting a plug in little trimmer for the 6 x 9 plot you so adored when it was yours to manicure, what are you going to do with it if your heading to a third floor apartment?

Sell, rent, or just give the stuff away, we don’t really need to know…….just know this! we will be screening images and ads posted, so keep your adult books and other items of your secret stash……secret! No one is gonna wanna buy  it any way.

Categories like kids and baby, appliances, gardening and plants, gaming and musical supplies are all there and if you need us to add a section or two, please feel free to drop us a line and we’ll be happy to add it. 🙂

http://www.realspacestt.com/classifieds/

Tucker Real Estate Joins the Real Spaces family!

Seasoned Real Estate Professionals Tucker Real Estate, has joined the line up of agents that will be featuring properties on our website and of course, our television series Real Spaces. The agency signed up today and already has listings to have added to our pages as well as property to film for our upcoming season on CNC3.

Speaking with Ms. Tucker today revealed that the agency has a list of properties that they will be adding soon and will also be featuring all videos on their website and facebook page along with the exposure that Real Spaces will offer.

We say “Welcome” to Tucker Real Estate, and look forward to lots of properties from this team in the coming months.

Real Spaces Television Series to appear on ADNET screens at HILO stores nationwide

Real Spaces, the real estate television production of T&T that features scores of properties for rent and sale on the Trinidad and Tobago market will be making its debut on screens at the popular supermarket chain HILO by the end of June 2012. This, as a working relationship with the owners of the network of closet circuit LCD screens ADNET, has entered into an agreement to carry up-to-date content of the series.

Executive Producers Basil Lai Entertainment, will also be offering advertisers and sponsors, spot placement into the content and a specially developed on-screen interface is being produced for exclusive use through this portal.

Shoppers will be able to see listings immediately on screen while shopping for groceries or waiting in the check out line, with all querries being directed to the website developed for the series, www.realspacestt.com

Real Spaces Re-runs on Gayelle the Channel

To all our loyal viewers, Real Spaces will airing repeats of our last season every Thursday at 8pm on Gayelle the Channel. This means that all new viewers will now be able to see our series in Barbados, Grenada, Suriname, Jamaica as well as Trinidad and Tobago.

We will be welcoming viewers from all participating Caribbean Islands to send in requests on property listings as this is just the first phase of our entry into the Barbados and Grenada markets and would like the opinions of the viewership of these new territories.

Stay tuned and keep sending your emails as we get ready to include more properties onto our listings and take the Real Spaces brand regional.

 

 

 

Selling your home? Tips to get more from your sale!

By Rhea-Simone Auguste

(c) Moon Light Rental Ltd.

If you have decided to sell or rent your home, one of the first things you should do is walk the perimeter of your premises and critique your property. Imagine you are a prospective buyer/renter looking at the place for the first time. Is your property clean, well-maintained and free from defects? Is the yard clear of “junk” and debris and inviting to buyers who may have children and want the yard clutter-free?

Sometimes it may be difficult to see your home as anything but your home. It has been your sanctuary and all of the quirks and eccentricities that you added gave it the personal touches. However, prospective buyers/renters are less interested in personal touches and more interested in getting the best property for their money. They are looking for a perfect solution to their housing problem or an investment in a property that will yield a profit in years to come. The less problems they see with the property upfront – the better.

Most sellers are not interested in spending pre-sale of a house because they think it would cost too much to do so. But there are untold benefits of sprucing up your property before prospective buyers see it and topping the list of benefits is – your property can be soldfaster with minor improvements.

Here are some quick and inexpensive tips to improve the look of your home for prospective buyers/renters courtesy Moon Light Rental Ltd:

  1. De-clutter your yard! The first thing prospective customers see is your yard. If you have a lawn, have it trimmed before showings and ensure all walkways, drains and concrete areas are free of mould and dirt by power-washing or scrubbing with a solution of bleach and water. A clean yard is an inviting yard.
  2. Front porches/galleries should also be cleaned and made to look inviting to people who enjoy entertaining. If you have a nice patio set or simple chairs and an outside mat – arrange them as though you were expecting company. If the house is being sold/rented unfurnished – consider touch-painting so all surfaces look fresh and new.
  3. Inside the house: Two areas of a house can make/break a potential sale/rental – the kitchen and the bathroom(s). These areas MUST be cleaned thoroughly and the kitchen cupboards should be inspected pre-showing to ensure no insects have made your cupboards their home. The last thing a prospective customer wants is to open a cupboard and have a cockroach jump out and greet them. If your home has had problems with ants, invest in a simple TERRO liquid ant bait solution and place baits a few days before showings. Remember to remove all baits and dead insects before you show your place.
  4. Check your bathrooms and toilets thoroughly before you let prospective customers see your place. Make sure toilets are scrubbed clean and bathroom surfaces look clean to touch. Essentially your prospective customers should feel like the house is in move-in condition immediately.

You would be surprised to know the value of your property could go up by simply painting, power-washing and preparing it prior to a valuation or a sale.

Thinking about selling/renting your property? Give us a call at 221-8550 or 773-5468. Looking for a place to buy/rent, give us a call and let’s see if we could match you to your dream home.

The Best Time to Buy is NOW!

By Rhea-Simone Auguste

© MoonLight Rental Ltd.

For those of you unfamiliar with the way the real estate market operates, there are two terms you should get familiar with: Buyer’s Market and Seller’s Market. At present, it is safe to say it is a Buyer’s Market. What this means is there are many houses for sale on the market leading to better prices for buyers. Sellers looking to move on want to SELL and FAST for less than the actual value of their property. Instead of listing a property for sale and waiting for a long period (over a year in some instances) to get it sold, sellers are more open to negotiate the selling prices of their house/land. If you’re thinking about buying a property for residential use or as an investment – now is the best time to buy.

As a buyer, you now have more choices within a price bracket. Let’s say you are looking for property under 1.2 million in East Trinidad, you can choose from a number of new developments including gated community properties where the starting price for some of the houses is $825,000 (Coral Park, St. Helena) or some hovering closer to the 1.2 maximum in The Crossings, Arima.

Areas close to St. Augustine have maintained steady prices with properties closer to the University of the West Indies commanding higher prices with sellers demanding well over $400 per square foot in some instances because of the commercial possibility of the area. It is a highly sought-after location for student housing and renting a one-bedroom apartment in the area can cost between $2500-$4000 depending on the furnishings and amenities offered

A must-watch area for investors is Trincity. Old-fashioned homes close to the Mall can be bought for under 1 million but with minor improvements – roof changes and aircondition installation together with minor infrastructure adjustments – properties can be resold for over 1.5 million in this highly demanded area

Also on the rise is St. Helena. Roughly 10 minutes drive from the Piarco traffic light, the area is rapidly developing into a townhouse and apartment complex hotspot.  The area will likely see an increase in properties being built by year end with the value of properties likely climbing higher in years to come.

In the San Juan/Santa Cruz area, a number of new developments may well be in the plannings. Vast stretches of residential land is on the market for sale at present – opening the way for investors to buy and build residential communities. Santa Cruz offers properties on par in terms of land structure to Maraval  however the prices are much more reasonable with land being sold around $100/sq.ft compared to Maraval where $130/sq.ft is the on the lower end of the price scale and not necessarily in the best areas.

In the Western end of Trinidad, prices continue to be on the higher end for houses – think multiple millions for a three-bedroom flat in Westmoornings. However, if you’re open to the idea of building – you can get land between TT$65- TT$95 per square foot in Glencoe with all the conveniences of a West property including a shorter commute to Port of Spain.

Central Trinidad is rapidly gaining popularity among buyers as the new overpass constructed by Grand Bazaar has helped to ease the traffic woes of those heading into South-bound lanes from Port of Spain after 4PM. Additional changes to road infrastructure including newly paved areas in some parts of Cunupia and environs has opened areas for development. Although buyers can access more land for their money in Central Trinidad, caution must be exercised when buying in and around areas prone to flooding including parts of Caroni, Freeport and Gasparillo.

Thinking about going down San Fernando to live? Southern home prices continue to climb with homes in Palmiste climbing to supremacy with sprawling mansions with asking prices crossing 8 Million and up.  More affordable homes can be found in Vistabella from as low as $1.5 Million. Buying land and building is the best for the under 1.5 Million buyer interested in San Fernando and environs but locating land under $100/sq.ft. may present a challenge unless you have a diligent real estate agent looking for spots as they come up.

It is an excellent time to buy and if the economy continues in its present direction, more properties will likely be put on the market as homeowners battle with rising costs of living and the decision to sell property becomes more enticing.

Pre-qualify: When and why?

By Rhea-Simone Auguste

©Moon Light Rental Ltd.

moonlightrental@yahoo.com

 

Mary Marshall wanted to buy a house. She did a rough calculation of how much she thought she would get in a mortgage based on how much rent she was currently paying. Then, she called a realtor and said – “I am looking for a house around 1.5 million”. Mary was linked to a sourcing agent who promptly sent her a list of homes close to her given price range. After viewing several properties, Mary found the perfect home in her ideal neighbourhood. She signed an offer to purchase with a bid on the house and excitedly took the information to the bank to get started on her mortgage process.

Mary reached the loans department with all of her payslips and financial documents and the information on her dream property, certain that she would get through with her loan in a hurry. The loans officer went through all of her documents and with one sentence, crushed Mary’s hopes for buying the house – “You are not qualified for 1.5 million.”

“Not qualified?” Mary was confused. She paid $8000 a month in rent and she figured she could get a 25 year mortgage at least so she should be able to handle a 1.5 million dollar mortgage. However, she had a few loans, 2 credit cards and she had defaulted on a loan previously and that affected her credit rating. The bank would only offer her $900,000. Now she had to start the process of house-hunting all over again and say goodbye to the idea of owning the gorgeous property she considered her dream home.

Mary could have avoided the heartbreak and the hassle if she had gone to her bank first.

If you are seriously thinking about making your first home purchase, your first step should be getting a pre-qualification from your bank. The pre-qualification process is a useful tool as it helps you to get a clearer picture of your current financial status. Doing a pre-qualification is easy and some banks even do them over the phone. You simply supply your bank or mortgage lender with your overall financial picture, including your debt, income and assets. After evaluating this information, a lender can give you an idea of the mortgage amount for which you qualify. There is no charge for this pre-qualification – this is a free service offered by most banks.

A pre-qualification should not be confused with a pre-approval however. Getting pre-approved is the next step, and it tends to be much more involved. You’ll complete an official mortgage application (and usually pay an application fee), and then supply the lender with the necessary documentation to perform an extensive check on your financial background and current credit rating. (Typically at this stage, you will not have found a house yet, so any reference to “property” on the application will be left blank). From this, the lender can tell you the specific mortgage amount for which you are approved. You’ll also have a better idea of the interest rate you will be charged on the loan and, in some cases, you might be able to lock-in a specific rate. With pre-approval, you will receive a conditional commitment in writing for an exact loan amount, allowing you to look for a home at or below that price level. Obviously, this puts you at an advantage when dealing with a potential seller, as he or she will know you’re one step closer to obtaining an actual mortgage.

The advantage of completing both of these steps – pre-qualification and pre-approval – before you start to look for a home is that you’ll know in advance how much you can afford. This way, you don’t waste time with guessing or looking at properties that are beyond your means. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage also enables you to move quickly when you find the perfect place. When you make an offer, it won’t be contingent on obtaining financing, which can save you valuable time. In a competitive market, this lets the seller know that your offer is serious – and could prevent you from losing out to another potential buyer who already has financing arranged.