Investing in real estate can be a great alternative to traditional investments and many owners choose to rent out their property. Here are some of the top benefits for getting into this line of business!
Increase over time. Money being put towards real estate investments has increased substantially over the past few years. This is due to an influx in demand of rental properties and an increase in rental rates. These continue to trend upwards, meaning your property’s value will continue to increase as well.
Security. Unlike investing in stocks, your investment growth is a lot steadier with a very minimal chance that you can lose it all overnight. Generally, experts can predict when the market will start to dip in advance, and you can adjust accordingly.
Create passive income. Investing in a rental property (or four!) can make you money while you sleep and the rent you collect can cover or exceed your mortgage payment and other expenses, allowing you to bring in extra cash flow.
Tax breaks. As a real estate investor, you can take advantage of several tax exemptions. Rental income is not subject to self-employment tax and government provides tax breaks on insurance, repairs, legal fees, and property taxes.
Inflation. Although normally a bad thing, people who own rental properties actually benefit from inflation because, as the cost of living increases, so does your income.
Flexibility to sell. Renting out a home allows the homeowner the opportunity to be selective about when and if they sell while the home is still appreciating. Once the market is in the right place and the lease is up, they can pull the trigger.
Guess who’s back, back again? Wallpaper has risen to the top of homeowners’ favorite ways to spice up a room again, and its easy to see why!
Options. With a variety of colors, patterns, and styles on the market, it’s nearly impossible for you to not find one that matches exactly what you’re looking for. The texture and finish options are endless as well, ranging from silk to leather to suede to mother of pearl. Some of the wallpaper trends we are loving right now include watercolor-inspired designs that transform any room into an artistic haven and nature-forward designs that help bring the outdoors in.
Ease of Use. One of the biggest benefits of wallpaper is it is a fantastic DIY project for you and your spouse, family, or friend. Not only does it go on easily, but it is simple to remove and replace when you are ready to revamp the look of the room. Additionally, this is a great option if you’re a renting a home or apartment. Generally, landlords prefer you do not paint during your rental period, so this easy-to-remove option is a great alternative.
Value. Most wallpaper costs on average $3 to $8 per square foot, depending on the brand and the material. Although the upfront cost of wallpapering a room can be a little more than the cost to paint, the value it offers is substantial. Wallpaper can last anywhere from 15 to 25 years, making it an incredibly cost-effective décor solution in the long run, while a painted wall requires more upkeep and touch ups and generally you will need to repaint every 5 to 10 years or so.
In the event of a natural disaster, you have to be ready to flee at a moment’s notice, leaving you very little time to decide what to take. To help you prepare for an evacuation situation from a wildfire, tornado, hurricane, and more, here are 5 things to consider packing.
Special Mementos. Is there a locket handed down from generation to generation that you keep in your jewelry box? Or a sweet note from a loved one tucked away in the closet? Although you can’t take every special keepsake with you, make sure you grab the ones closest to your heart.
Important Documents. Bring identification documents for each member of your family, such as passports, birth certificates, social security cards, etc. You should also pack a copy of health insurance for each person.
Cash. Although it is rare for most people to carry cash on them these days, in the event of a natural disaster it is necessary. In most cases, there is likely to be a power outage in the area, rendering ATM machines and most registers unusable.
First Aid Kit and Medications. Create a first aid kit consisting of band aids, pain killers, gauze, cleansing towelettes, and gloves. Also, don’t forget to grab any medication your family members are required to take and the prescription script if available in case you need refills.
* Food and Water.* Pack non-perishable food items like granola bars, nuts, and dried fruit. Make sure to stock enough water for everyone in your family to at least have 1 gallon a day.
Homeowners have the ability to automate anything from locks to lights to air conditioning and more. With new technology popping up every day, it’s hard to stay up to date on the smart-home trend.
If you are considering installing smart-home technology in your home or looking to buy a home that is equipped with some of those devices, you want to ensure you do your research so you can make educated decisions. Here are three important factors to consider!
Security. Because a large percentage of smart-home devices rely on Wi-Fi, they are vulnerable to being hacked. Although this may not be much of a concern for devices controlling your lighting or sprinkler system, it may be for automated locks or garage openers.
Cost vs. Value Add. The initial setup costs for some smart-home technology can be daunting for homeowners, so it’s important to thoroughly map out the upfront cost versus your savings and its value to you over time. Many of these can help you be more energy efficient, reduce monthly bills, and save you time and stress. Plus, if and when you are ready to sell, smart-home technology can help improve your home’s resale value.
Compatibility. With so many companies throwing their hats into the smart-home ring, it is can be difficult to select the right devices for your home. If you are considering automating various features in your home, you may want to take a look at the big picture and try to choose devices that are compatible with one another or that can be controlled by a singular hub.
Home inspection is a crucial step in the homebuying process. After finding the perfect house, you will want to ensure that there are no hidden faults that may require lengthy and expensive repairs or renovations down the line.
To prepare you for this process, here are the top four things you need to know.
The buyer is responsible for the inspection. Make sure you give yourself ample time to find a reputable, certified home inspector by asking for referrals from your real estate agent, friends, and family and do your research online. Plus, don’t forget to factor in the cost of the inspection into your budget.
Home inspectors are usually generalists. They will evaluate most areas of your home, such as the foundation, basement, plumbing, electrical systems, heating and cooling systems, walls, floors, ceilings, and attics. But, if your home is equipped with special features, like a pool or chimney, you may need to hire a specialist.
Buyers can attend the inspection. In fact, a lot of inspectors suggest it! This is an opportunity for you to get any outstanding questions regarding the condition of the house you are purchasing answered.
You have options if the inspection uncovers a problem. If the problems discovered are serious, like structural damage or safety issues, the seller is legally required to fix them. You also have the option to back out of the purchase without facing any consequences. If the problems are smaller, you can submit a formal request for repairs and negotiate for them to cover some or all of the cost.
You’ve found the perfect home and it has everything you’ve ever dreamed of! Spacious, modern kitchen. Gloriously open floor plan. Giant bedrooms. Great location and neighborhood. The only downside is the backyard is slightly smaller than you’d hoped. But no reason to stress. There are many ways you can optimize your outdoor space to make it feel much larger! Check out our favorites below.
Separate Your Space
Breaking up your outdoor area into separate spaces or nooks can help make your backyard feel larger. Place items like planters, small walls, or outdoor light fixtures in between the spaces or separate them by installing different ground surfaces, such as decking, gravel, grass, and concrete.
Use Plants Creatively
Place plants throughout your backyard to help open up the space. Use plants with larger leaves to create depth, place warm-colored plants, such as red, yellow, or orange, near the front or in the center of the yard to catch attention, or install a trellis or plant taller plants to draw the eye upwards.
Incorporate Strategic Decor
Use big structures like pergolas and arbors to frame your outdoor space and give it a grander feel. Add a large sculpture or water fixture in the center or towards the back of the yard as a focal point, then arrange your furniture around it. Finally, hang large mirrors with steel, stone, or wooden frames to reflect light and trick the eye.
By using these techniques and more, you can alter perception and make your small yard feel like the large one of your dreams.
Many sellers may be tempted to select the highest offer they receive, but there are several other factors to consider. Here are five areas important to evaluate.
Down payment. The size of the down payment should be heavily considered when comparing offers. It is often tied to the size of the loan the buyer is taking out and a larger one indicates higher financial stability.
Earnest money deposit. The EMD is the sum of cash the buyer is willing to put up when the sales agreement is signed to show their high level of interest in purchasing the home. If they back out of the transaction without a good reason, the seller typical keeps it, and if the sale goes through, it typically goes towards their down payment.
Contingencies. Contingencies are standard for most offers and outline the evaluations and appraisals that need to be completed before the sale is final, such as financing, appraisal, sale of current home, title, and home inspection. The fewer contingences, the higher the chance of reaching the closing table.
All-cash offer. Not only does putting down an all-cash offer boost the likelihood of loan approval, but the buyer will not need an appraisal or financing contingency, reducing the chance of the sale falling through.
Closing date. Consideration of the closing date differs for each seller. For example, if you have already purchased a new home, you may want to close quickly. But, if you are waiting on the money from the sale to start house hunting, you may be okay with a slower settlement.
Buying your first home can be one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of your life, but it can also be a scary and stressful process. To ensure you have a smooth transaction from start to finish, familiarize yourself with the home buying process, note the tools and resources available to you, and get all your ducks in order. To get you started, we’ve made a list of our top three ways to set yourself up for success.
Outline Your Musts and Wants
Before starting your search, make a list of must-have and nice-to-have features for your home and neighborhood. This will help you narrow down your search early on and prevent the hunt from becoming overwhelming.
Solidify Your Financing
When starting the home buying process, ensure your finances are in order by reviewing your credit score and taking steps to boost it, saving for a down payment, and avoiding any major purchases. Then select a lender that is right for you, talk to him or her about your loan options, and get preapproved for a mortgage. Once you know your budget, you can more effectively find the right home for you.
Find a Real Estate Agent
Working with a great real estate agent can make a world of difference when it comes to navigating the ins and outs of the home buying process. With their vast background and experience and local knowledge of neighborhoods and cities, they will be your go-to resource every step of the way. By implementing these tips and remembering to enjoy the process, you can set yourself up for a great first home buying experience!
It’s easy to get sucked into looking at home listing after home listing online, drawn to the stunningly filtered photos of manicured lawns, sharp-looking kitchens, and giant bedrooms. Although this is a great place to begin, it’s important to keep in mind that all may not be as it seems.
Here are our top tips to avoid getting duped by listings online.
Photos don’t always capture the full picture. Real estate photographers are very good at highlighting the best features of the home and often use wide angle lenses to make spaces appear larger than they really are. But, be aware that there may be less photo-worthy features they aren’t displaying. Don’t forget to look at the property features listed below to gather a better idea of what the home has to offer.
Ensure you are looking at current listings. Nothing is worse than falling in love with the perfect home, only to check out the listing date to find it was posted two years ago. Make sure you use websites that are pulling information daily from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and have your real estate agent verify it is available.
Use your real estate agent as a resource. If you find a seemingly great listing online, always run it by your agent to confirm you aren’t missing something important. He or she can also provide neighborhood details, price comparisons for similar properties sold in the area, additional listings that match your criteria, and more. Once you a find a home you’re ready to view, make sure you bring them with you to answer questions and be an extra set of eyes.
It is exciting to go to open houses and dream of the possibilities a new home brings. Going to open houses is crucial to finding the right home. The next time you take a tour of a home, keep these tips in mind to ensure it is a positive and useful experience.
Respect When the House is Available for Viewing Most sellers have discussed available times interested buyers can view the property outside of the scheduled open house. If the open house does not line up with your schedule, nor do the additional available times to view the property, ask your buyer agent to reach out to the listing agent to set up a special showing that’s convenient for you.
Be on Time (Early is Better) Show up shortly before an open house is scheduled to start and beat the rush. You will get one-on-one time with the selling agent to ask questions. When you are done viewing the house, you can check out the neighborhood.
Ask Questions with Caution The selling agent is there to answer questions. However, it’s best to not overshare information or say anything that will give the agent negotiating power over you. Don’t forget, the agent works for the seller. Good questions to ask the selling agent include: – Have you gotten a lot of offers on the property? – When does the seller plan on moving? – How long has the property been on the market? – Have there been any price changes? – Does the house have any negative issues that need to be addressed?
While the information is still fresh, take some notes and final impressions of the home to help you make your final decision.