Recent Entries

Should You Buy a House with a Friend?...

If you’re looking for a new luxury home but are on a tight budget, you may be considering co-buying a home with a friend. While it will surely be easier to afford a large mortgage payment with two of you contributing, buying a house with a friend does not always work out well. Here’s a look at the pros and cons you should consider before making such a purchase.  Pro: You’ll have an easier time qualifying for a loan. Not only will you have an easier time scraping up the money for a mortgage payment each month, but you’ll have an easier time getting approved for the mortgage, too. The bank will be more confident in your ability to pay with two incomes, so you’ll have your choice of lenders and can go with the one who offers you the best deal. You may not be able to be so picky if you were to apply for a mortgage with just your income. Pro: You’ll get to live with someone you care about. If you were to buy a house on your own and rent to a random roommate, you might not like the person. And living alone is not always fun, either. When you share the home purchase with a friend, you know you’ll get along with your living partner, and both of you get to benefit equally from building equity in a home, rather than one of you having to fork over money you’ll never see again as a rent payment. Con: If one of you needs to move, the decision to sell can be a hard one. You might both think your jobs are secure and that you’d never leave the area. But surprises and tragedies...

Buying Your First Rental Property? 3 Important Features to Look for in a Neighborhood...

When you’re interested in buying a home, but you intend on renting it out to tenants, it’s important that you look into what kinds of things will stand out to potential renters. Not only will this likely ensure that your home is more valuable if you ever intend on selling it, but it can also make a big difference in how happy your tenants are and how much money are you able to rent the unit for. Instead of making any quick decisions about buying a rental property, you should rely on the expertise of a realtor and consider the following features that should be present in the neighborhood you’re interested in. Walking and Biking Score More and more people are spending more time walking and biking outdoors. With this in mind, you should look into finding homes that are located in neighborhoods that are walker and biker friendly. What this means is that the neighborhood should have well-defined sidewalks and bicycle lanes that are maintained. With these two features, you will be much more likely to rent a unit in the neighborhood out and attract more people who like to spend time outdoors. Nearby Schools and Parks Another thing to keep an eye out for when you’re comparing different neighborhoods to buy in is the school district and any neighborhood parks. Many people overlook what kinds of features are in the neighborhood outside of grocery stores and restaurants. By instead focusing on things that your potential tenants will be using a regular basis, such as the school or nearby parks, you can feel much more confident about renting out to responsible tenants without a long vacancy in between tenants. Minimal Crime and Noise One of the things that your...

Buying A Home During The Holidays? 3 Ways To Reduce Stress During Your Search...

Purchasing a home when the weather is nice is often preferable due to how comfortable you can be in your search, but it may not be an option because of your career or the need to move in a hurry. Whatever your reasons may be for moving during the holiday season, it’s a good idea for you to look into what you can do to make the home buying experience comfortable for you. With the tips below, you can find a home that suits your needs and doesn’t leave you disappointed. Rely on an Experienced Realtor in the Area One of the best ways to make sure that you find a home that fits what you’re looking for is sticking with realtors that are experienced and know the area well. By having a realtor that’s especially familiar with the neighborhoods you like the best, you can have a much broader range of homes to look at. Their experience can also help cut down on wasted time checking out homes that don’t match what you’re looking for. Keep a Broad List of Features You Want Another thing that you’ll need to prioritize when moving is getting all the features that are important to you. Your list of features can range anywhere from an updated kitchen to three bedrooms, with each feature ranging in the spectrum of importance. What this means is that you’ll need to take care to look through a list of what you want in a home with your partner or family. By sharing this list with a realtor, you can make your search for the perfect home much easier. With an easier way to find a home that suits your needs, you’ll be able to cut down...

Want To Become A Homeowner? 3 Projects You Can Handle At A Later Time...

Buying a home is tough, not just because you have to go through the long process of getting a home loan, but because you also need to make a decision on which home to buy. To get to this point in the process, you will need to take the wants and needs of each family member as well as your family as a whole into consideration, because you do not want to end up in a home that does not provide the right features. It is easy to push aside some of the essentials in favor of optional features such as an outdoor kitchen. So, you should make it a goal to focus on your needs and save some projects for after you buy a home. Outdoor Kitchen Although you might want to squeeze an outdoor kitchen into your budget for purchasing a home, not many properties are going to have this feature. It is better to get the value elsewhere in the house, and then you can make plans for a remodel at a later time. Once you put a grill outside, you may find that it is more than enough to satisfy your desires to cook outside, or it may not be something that you actually want to do at all. Such a project runs $1,000 on the low side and costs an average of about $7,400, so there is noticeable savings to be had by actively avoiding this feature during your house hunt. Closet If you are looking at a home and notice that it is somewhat lacking on storage space inside, you should not feel the need to cross it off of your list and start looking elsewhere. When it comes to remodeling projects that...

Three Tips For First-Time Landlords...

Individuals decide to become landlords for a variety of reasons, such as the desire to diversify their investments or wait out a bad property market. Regardless of the reasoning behind your decision to become a landlord, there are a few simple tips you can follow to make the transition from property owner to landlord as seamless as possible. 1. Hire a Property Management Company As a first-time landlord, you may feel like you can save money by handling all of the errands and tasks yourself. However, a good property management company is invaluable and can even keep more money in your pocket in the long term. Property management companies handle a variety of tasks, such as marketing the unit, screening tenants, collecting rent and applicable deposits, handling maintenance issues, and evicting tenants. They have experience in the rental industry and know how to screen and interact with tenants. Landlords who will not live near their rental unit, who have little time, or who are not comfortable with frequent tenant interaction can especially benefit from the services of a property management company.  2. Be Leery of Renting to Family Members Aunt Becky needs a place to live, and you need a tenant for your property; renting your unit to Aunt Becky sounds like the answer to both of your problems. However, a rental relationship gone awry can sever your familial relationships permanently. Your family members may feel like they deserve a little leeway when it comes to paying rent on time. You may not be comfortable evicting someone you have known and loved for decades over a couple thousand dollars It is best to look elsewhere for tenants. If you do decide to rent to family, never rely on a...

Three “Unconventional” Places to Find Your Dream Home...

Whether you are looking for your “dream home” or are looking for investment property to rent out or “flip” for a profit, you are likely looking for a great house that is priced at less than it is worth. If this is the case, it can be difficult to find what you are looking for via traditional methods. These methods include utilizing major realty listing websites that pull listings from the MLS. Generally, the MLS shows listings from realtors, and these listings are looking for fair market value. Don’t let this lack of inexpensive houses discourage you. It is possible to find an amazing house priced under market value; you just have to know where to look. Online Sales Websites There are several major websites that cater to people selling their own possessions, from clothing and household goods to cars and boats. These sites are great places to find houses that are listed for Sale by owner. You can also find sellers that are looking to sell cheap because they just want to be rid of a property or don’t have the time and money to do the necessary repairs and upgrades on a home they own. Check these sites at least once a day, and if possible, set up alerts that will email you when a listing that meets your requirements is posted. Social Media Many people don’t realize that there is a whole hidden world of buy/sell/trade groups on social media websites. These groups cater to individuals living in a certain area or those who are looking to buy, sell, or trade certain items. These groups are great places to search for properties that you can buy cheap, put a little work into, and then sell for a nice...

How You Can Start Preparing For Home Staging Several Months In Advance...

Although the process of staging a home is something that takes place right before you intend on taking high-quality photographs in preparation of listing your home for sale, you can start preparing early on to reduce some of the stress associated with selling your home. Home staging generally involves the same methods because a homeowner or professional only has so much time to actually stage a home before they intend on having it listed. When you start this process several months in advance, you can greatly improve the final results of home staging. Sell or Put Away Highly Stylized Decorations It is not that hard to put away items for staging purposes, but you should not feel the need to handle everything at once. Alternatively, you can start selling or putting away decorations that are highly stylized, which only make potential buyers look at your home in a certain style, and not in their own style. By staying more neutral and removing some decorations, you can make it much more likely that potential homebuyers will be able to envision themselves living in the space and won’t be turned off by the décor. Eliminate Crowding with a Storage Unit Real estate professionals do not want to completely gut your home of its furnishings, especially while you are living inside, but you can eliminate crowding on your own. If you have plenty of furniture to accommodate your large family or to simply maximize your options in a given room, you should consider renting a storage unit to cut down on the crowding and make the entire home look more open. With less furniture in each room, potential buyers can get around the home more freely and you’ll be able to create...

Things You Are Wise To Do Before You Dip To Buy A Flipped Home...

Are you considering purchasing an older home that has been remodeled by an investor? If so, you may have heard the term “flipping” at some point. Perhaps your interest in buying this type of home is piqued because you have seen television shows that broadcast the process from start to finish. There are a few things you should do before you consider buying this type of home. Make an inquiry regarding the investor’s flipping track record. This does not mean that you have to go around your city asking everyone you know or everyone involved in the real estate industry about the investor. You will likely find that many of these investors are eager to answer some questions about their history themselves. For example, it is wise to know how long they have been flipping homes and the approximate number that they have flipped. You can also inquire about whether they perform the renovations themselves or hire outside work. You can use this information as a potential indicator of shoddy work. For example, if you are considering a purchase from an investor who performs his or her own remodeling and usually hires two additional people, then flipping a high number of homes in a short time span could mean that the remodeling work performed is mediocre at best.  Check the home for signs of a rushed remodel. Ensure that the doors and cabinets open and close completely. You should also look for gaps between areas such as tile and between vanities and the walls. Unfinished tile and grout are also potential signs of shoddy work. Molding, baseboards, switch plates and outlet plates should not be installed crooked or uneven. Verify that home  improvement permits and paperwork were filed.  When homes are...
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