Archive for the ‘Real Estate’ Category

When It Makes Sense To DIY

March 27, 2020

When It Makes Sense To DIYMany homeowners enjoy DIY, or Do-it-Yourself, home improvement projects. There’s nothing quite like the pride of knowing you used your own hands to put together or improve something.

With the explosion of social media sites such as YouTube, Pinterest,and TikTok, spending a weekend on DIY projects seems easier than ever before. After just a couple of minutes spent searching, you can find a step-by-step tutorial, before and after photos, or a time-lapse video of any project imaginable. Anyone can do this! Right?

Not so fast. In some cases, it may not make sense to DIY. How do you decide whether it will be worth the elbow grease or if you should leave it to the professionals?

To DIY Or Not To DIY

Building, fixing, painting, or any other -ing isn’t always easier or more affordable, despite what HGTV would have you believe. As you consider whether or not to take a project on yourself, here are some things to consider. 

  • Cost – Calculate the cost of materials you’ll need for your project, factoring in tools and equipment. If the job requires some you don’t already own, you’ll have to rent or buy them, which can be quite costly. However, if you already have some of the necessary materials or you can borrow tools from someone, going the DIY route may make sense. 
  • Time – As Greek philosopher Theophrastus said, “Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” Even if a DIY project offers substantial cost savings, it’s important to factor in the time you’ll have to spend on it. Consider whether saving money is a worthwhile trade-off for your time.
  • Skill level – No matter how many tutorials you study, some things are better left to truly skilled professionals. If you don’t have any experience working in electrical, you shouldn’t attempt to do a project that requires running wires. Knowing your limitations and when to hire someone can save you time, money, and stress.

Potentially saving money is certainly not the only thing to consider when it comes to DIY projects. Before deciding to take it on, ask yourself if you’ll truly enjoy the project and whether or not you have the necessary skills. 

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

Turn Your Yard Into An All-Seasons Living Space

March 25, 2020

Turn Your Yard Into An All-Seasons Living SpaceThink of backyard space as “in-between” or transitional space that is a bit like being inside while being outside. Sunrooms, screened-in covered patios, outdoor kitchens, spas, fire pits and more, are all becoming very popular ways to make more use of the backyard. Making use of the outside area is not limited to only the times of the year that have nice, warm weather.

Sitting around a fire pit, with a blazing fire in it, is a perfect way to spend a chilly winter evening under the stars. This is a bit like camping out, without having to leave the comfort of your home.

Here are some tips about how to turn your backyard space into a comfortable and functional transitional area.

Landscaping

Install shade trees, cobbled paths that invite exploration, and water features that are mixed in with attractive landscaping to make your backyard more inviting. Add some inexpensive solar-powered lights to line the walkways for a nice nighttime look.

This can be a labor of love that you take your time doing without having to rush the end result. It is healthy for you to do a bit of gardening, to get some fresh air and light exercise.

Outdoor Cooking

There are many ways to enjoy outdoor cooking such as simply taking a hibachi grill out to cook on a patio. You can cook hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks, chicken, shish kebab, and more. You can even grill vegetables, like delicious slices of eggplant or corn on the cob, for your vegetarian friends on a separate grill reserved for that use.

Pizza Oven

If you really want to impress your guests, then put in a wood-burning pizza oven. Pizza made this way tastes delicious. There are dozens of pizza recipes you can try from thin crust to deep dish.

You can also make loaves of bread and other types of oven-baked foods. When you get a wood-burning pizza oven hot enough to cook properly, you will want to cook plenty of things so be sure to invite over lots of friends and neighbors.

Gourmet Kitchen

Taking the outdoor cooking one step further, some people like to install a full gourmet kitchen and spend lots of time cooking outside. There are many stainless steel grills to choose from that go along well with matching stainless steel appliances, which are strong enough for exposure to the elements.

Temperature Control

When desiring to have some control over the temperature outside, it is best to think of creating usable areas. When it is cold outside, you can use patio heaters that burn propane to make warmer areas for sitting. Another popular idea is to put in a fire pit to sit around.

During warmer times, you will want to have shaded areas and patio covers with ceiling fans. In the hot summers, you might enjoy a misting system that sprays a fine mist of cool water vapor in the air.

Summary

Many neglect their backyards, which is a shame because they can be lovely places to hang out. Rather than investing in an expensive room addition, start thinking about how you can make your backyard more enjoyable as a transitional space between the interior living area and the outside.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

How to Buy An Investment Property

March 18, 2020

How to Buy An Investment PropertyIt is important for everyone to take steps to diversify their assets. While many people take this to mean holding multiple stocks, bonds, and mutual funds in the market, this also includes branching out into the real estate industry. The real estate industry is far more stable than the stock market and provides a fantastic opportunity to generate reliable returns. At the same time, there are lots of options to choose from when it comes to investment properties.

Here are a few tips everyone should keep in mind.

Buying And Renting

One option is to purchase a single-family home as a second building and then rent it out. On the other hand, it is also possible to purchase a multi-unit property and rent out each individual unit. One of the biggest factors to keep in mind is that the owner is going to be responsible for collecting deposits, checking the backgrounds of potential tenants, conducting repairs, and completing maintenance tasks. 

If the property is located in a desirable area, it is possible for someone to collect enough rent to cover the cost of the mortgage and more. At the same time, it is also possible that someone might end up spending a considerable amount of time managing the property. It might be a solid idea to hire a property management company; however, this will eat away at the revenue. These are a few of the key factors to think about.

Flipping Houses

Another option real estate investors can consider is flipping houses. In this process, someone buys a home (which is often in a state of disrepair and inexpensive), repairs it, and then sells the home for a profit. It is also possible that someone might end up spending a significant amount of time and money renovating the home, which might eat away at any financial gains. Be sure to know exactly what repairs and renovations the home is going to need before buying.

A Real Estate Investment Trust

Sometimes, it might be too much for someone to buy individual properties. One possible option is called a real estate investment trust (REIT). This is a company that owns numerous big properties that generate incomes. Therefore, these trusts are often compared to mutual funds in the stock market but for real estate. Different REITs specialize in different areas, so there are lots to choose from.

If you are interested in buying a new home or refinancing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional.

How To Finally Become A Real Estate Investor This Year

March 13, 2020

How To Finally Become A Real Estate Investor This YearInvesting in real estate remains one of the best ways to accumulate wealth in America. There are six ways to get started in real estate investing. One way does not require any investment capital, just an investment of your time. Ways to get started include investing in a REIT, buying an incoming-producing property, using a buy-and-hold strategy, flipping houses, crowdfunding, and wholesale deals.

Investing In A REIT

A real estate investment trust (REIT) is an investment instrument that offers a proportional ownership interest in a real estate portfolio that follows a particular investment strategy. A private REIT has a minimum investment that could be $1,000 to $25,000. A publicly-traded REIT sells in shares, just like stocks on the stock exchange. The investment minimum is just one share and some REITs have share prices under $100.

Income-Producing Property

Buy a home and rent it out. For this strategy to work, you do have to deal with the tenant headaches, unless you can afford to outsource the landlord’s work to a property management company.

Buy-And-Hold Strategy

Buy raw land for cheap on the outskirts of a growing town and wait the time necessary for the town to overtake your land for the opportunity to subdivide and develop it for a high price.

Flipping Houses

For those who like doing contracting work, or who partner up with a contractor, there may be profit in buying some fixer-upper homes to renovate and sell for more than the acquisition price plus the renovation costs.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a way to participate as a small investor in real estate deals and also to fund your own deals.

Wholesale Deals

Wholesale deals can be accomplished with no money down. You work for other investors and secure properties at lower than market prices by controlling them with an offer that is accepted and then assigning the deal to the investors for a fee.

Summary

If you have been thinking about becoming a real estate investor, now is the time to do something about it. Even if you start with only $100 by buying shares in a REIT, at least you got started. Once you get your real estate investment strategy going, you will find it to be a very rewarding experience, if you are careful and make wise decisions.

Be sure to associate with an expert REALTOR® in your marketplace area to get sound advice and information.

If you are in the market for an investment property or interested in refinancing your current home, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

5 Benefits of Using A Real Estate Agent When Buying Or Selling A Home

March 10, 2020

5 Benefits of Using A Real Estate Agent When Buying Or Selling A HomeIt may come as a surprise for some people to learn that not everyone uses a real estate agent when buying or selling a home. Whenever someone is looking to move, it is critical to rely on the experience of a real estate agent. There are a few benefits that everyone should keep in mind.

Tips For Price Guidance

The price is one of the most challenging aspects of either buying or selling a home. A trained real estate agent spends his or her days looking at the prices of homes that are bought and sold in the local area. 

Therefore, real estate agents can help someone sell a home both quickly and at the right price. If homes are left on the market for too long, prospective buyers might think that something is wrong with the house. This may make the home harder to sell.

Networking In The Real Estate Industry

Next, hiring professional real estate agent is important for accessing the professional network. Real estate agents typically have access to appraisers and inspectors who will be able to do a quick, easy, and cost-effective evaluation of the home. This will help the homeowner determine whether or not any repairs are necessary to get the house ready to sell.

Appropriate Financing Options

A real estate agent can also guide a prospective buyer through the financing options. There are lots of options when it comes to purchasing a home. A real estate agent can help someone review his or her options, helping a client find the right financing option for them.

Exposure For A Home Sale

One of the major benefits of working with a real estate agent is access to something called the Multiple Listing Service. This is a service where the vast majority of real estate agents list homes that are for sale. This will help any house being sold gain more exposure. The more exposure, the more potential offers, helping a house sell for a higher price.

Handling The Paperwork

One of the most often overlooked benefits of working with a real estate agent is help with the paperwork. The paperwork required to buy or sell a home can be significant. A real estate agent knows how to get through this paperwork quickly, efficiently, and accurately.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional.

Coping With Relationships During The Moving Process

March 6, 2020

Coping With Relationships During The Moving ProcessHeading to a new place can be an exciting time; however, this is going to have an impact on someone’s relationships with family members and friends. The idea of relocation can be stressful for these emotional attachments. This can cause some hesitation as individuals and families adjust to living in a new place.

These are a few tips that everyone should keep in mind.

Keep In Touch

Of course, one of the most important tips for coping with the move is to keep in touch. This doesn’t mean that these relationships need to die. Simply arrange ways to talk with each other.

This starts with phone calls, video chats, and emails. This is a great way to stay involved in the lives of close friends and family members. Once the move has settled, invite them out to take a look at the new place. It is exciting to move to a new city and this is an opportunity to share some hospitality with loved ones.

Memories Of Loved Ones Are Important

Be sure to take souvenirs, mementos, and reminders of the old home. Pictures are the easiest way to do this. Be sure to display these photos in conspicuous places in the new home. This will ensure that these relationships aren’t forgotten.

In addition to pictures, paperweights, trinkets, postcards, and other items make great mementos and can serve as decorations in the new home. Display these on a shelf or ledge where they can be seen. This will help someone adjust to living in a new place.

Explore The New City

It is important to move forward. In order for someone to truly be happy in a new place, they need to give this location a chance. Get out of the house and explore everything the new city has to offer. Check out the bars, shops, restaurants, community spaces, and people. This is extremely important. Try to make new friends and create a solid support structure in a new place.

While it is important to maintain old relationships with family members and friends, they will want you to be happy in your new home as well. Therefore, branch out and explore. This will make coping with the move easier. 

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

5 Essential Questions Real Estate Investors Should Ask Before Making An Offer

March 4, 2020

5 Essential Questions Real Estate Investors Should Ask Before Making An OfferReal estate investing is not only a great way to diversify assets but can also be used to generate both income and capital appreciation. While this is a fantastic opportunity, it is also important to choose investment projects carefully. It is critical to ask the right questions before making an offer on an investment property.

Why Is The Building On The Market?

There is a reason why the property is on the market. It is important to know the answer to this question. Sometimes, the house is on the market purely because the owner is moving for job or family purposes.

On the other hand, there might be an issue with the integrity of the structure. Be sure to figure out the true nature of the building before making an offer.

What Are The Other Offers?

It is important to know the competition when purchasing an investment property. Those who are trying to get the best deal possible need to know what they are up against. Asking about whether a cash offer will sweeten the deal is a great way to garner some additional insights.

What Is The Recent Maintenance?

One of the most common hidden costs in the world of real estate comes in the form of deferred maintenance. If nothing has been done on the property recently, these maintenance costs are going to be passed on to the buyer, hurting any potential ROI. Be sure to ask about any recent repairs or replacements. It’s not unusual for someone to spend a third of the building’s value on repairs.

What Is The Seller Interested In?

Be straightforward and ask what is important to the seller. Some sellers want a quick close. Other sellers want to rent the property back. There are even some sellers who want to leave the furniture behind as well. Ask what the seller needs to offload the investment property.

How Long Has It Been On The Market?

Always check and see how long the building as been on the market. If the building has been on the market for a while, figure out why it hasn’t sold. On the other hand, if the building just landed on the market, there might be more room to negotiate.

If you are in the market for a real estate investment property, a trusted home mortgage professional can be one of your best assets. Be sure to make contact as soon as you are ready to start looking!

How To Keep Records For Your Real Estate Business

March 3, 2020

How To Keep Records For Your Real Estate BusinessAnyone who is looking to build a successful real estate business needs to keep meticulous records. When buying and selling property, there are a lot of tax and legal responsibilities. While some people may not want to think about this issue, the IRS may audit a real estate business. In this case, it is critical to have documentation that demonstrates proof of income as well as any credits or deductions that might have been claimed.

Some of the most common deductions that are claimed in the real estate business include depreciation, mortgage interest, repairs, insurance premiums, administrative costs, and property taxes. In order to keep records for a real estate business, there are a few categories to consider.

Improvements That Have Been Made To Properties

There are two ways that someone can deduct the costs of improvements or repairs made to properties. First, someone can deduct the entire cost of the expense during the year that it was incurred. This means the cost of materials, labor, storage, and more. 

The other way that someone can claim this deduction is to depreciate its cost over a predetermined period of time. This time period is going to depend on the nature of the repair. In this case, the depreciation period would begin on the date the repair or improvement is made.

The Cost Of Cars, Mileage, And Parking

Another key category is mileage and parking. There are plenty of people who use a car to get from place to place. If this car is used for work purposes, it can be claimed as a deduction. In order to keep proper records of mileage and parking, it is important to keep either a digital or paper log for the purposes of each trip. 

Then, with the number of miles driven in hand, this can be multiplied by the suggested mileage rate provided by the IRS. The grand total can be deducted from someone’s gross taxable income that year. The alternative way to calculate this is to forgo the standard rate issued by the IRS and deduct the cost of gas, maintenance, and depreciation of the vehicle. Some people like to calculate the deduction both ways and use the larger total. Just be sure to have records to support this claim.

Remember that partenering with a trusted home mortgage professional can be a great asset for your clients and generate referral leads for your business.

Home Improvements That May Improve Resale Value

February 14, 2020

Home Improvements That May Improve Resale ValueDid you know that some home improvements lower the resale value of a home and decrease the number of potential buyers? If you are going to repaint the exterior of your home bright, traffic-cone orange and try to sell it for a high price, think again! Maybe, if the artist Pablo Picasso once lived there that might work, but probably not under any other circumstances.

Some things are counter-intuitive. A swimming pool is an example. Swimming pools are great and highly desirable for many people. However, others do not necessarily think so and only see them as adding unnecessary expenses for maintenance and upkeep.

There are general guidelines to follow, which give you a better chance to increase the resale value of a home by making certain improvements. If possible, work with your REALTOR® who understands the local real estate market conditions before making decisions about investing in renovations to increase a home’s resale value.

Be aware that the industry averages show a percentage of recoupment of the investment and no renovations make back what they cost, in terms of increased resale value. This means you should only consider renovations that you like for other reasons as well as the potential financial impact on the home’s value. The only way to profit from renovations is to do some work yourself.

Renovations — Partial Recoupment In Resale Value

Here are the top ten things to consider with their average installation cost, average increased resale amount, and the average recoupment percentage as ranked by Remodeling in the 2020 Cost vs. Value Report:

1. Manufactured Stone Veneer (applied to the front of the home)

Installation Cost $9,357 — Increased Resale Amount $8,943 — Recoupment 96%

2. Garage Door Replacement

Installation Cost $3,695 — Increased Resale Amount $3,491 — Recoupment 94%

3. Fiber Cement Siding (applied to the exterior of the home)

Installation Cost $17,008 — Increased Resale Amount $13,195 — Recoupment 78%

4. Vinyl Siding (applied to the exterior of the home)

Installation Cost $14,359 — Increased Resale Amount $10,731 — Recoupment 75%

5. Vinyl Windows (double-pane)

Installation Cost $17,461 — Increased Resale Amount $12,761 — Recoupment 72%

6. Wooden Deck

Installation Cost $14,360 — Increased Resale Amount $10,355 — Recoupment 72%

7. Wood Windows (double-pane)

Installation Cost $21,495 — Increased Resale Amount $14,804 — Recoupment 69%

8. Steel Entry Door

Installation Cost $1,881 — Increased Resale Amount $1,294 — Recoupment 69%

9. Composite Deck

Installation Cost $19,856 — Increased Resale Amount $13,257 — Recoupment 67%

10. Asphalt-Shingled Roof

Installation Cost $24,700 — Increased Resale Amount $16,287 — Recoupment 66%

The runner-ups, with their recoupment percentages, are remodeling the bathroom (62%), metal roofing (61%), a kitchen remodel (59%), a bedroom addition (59%), and a bathroom addition (55%).

Summary

Notice that the top ten items that make the most positive impact on the resale price are all exterior projects and most of them are visible from the front of the home. The wise adage of “curb appeal sells” seems to be true when it comes to renovations that generally improve resale value.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional.

Common Problems Faced By New Homeowners

February 13, 2020

Common Problems Faced By New HomeownersBuying a new home is a big step for individuals and families. This is a time for celebration as the new furniture gets moved in, everyone gets adjusted, and the honeymoon phase starts with the new home. On the other hand, buying a home also means that all of the responsibilities rest with the owners.

Here are a few common problems that new homeowners face.

Taking Care Of The Outside

Many homeowners are quick to realize that there is a tremendous amount of maintenance on the outside of the home. Now, the exterior is their responsibility and doesn’t fall on a landlord. Sure, it can be helpful to hire someone; however, this can be expensive.

Some of the common questions that homeowners have include how frequently they should water the lawn. There might also be questions regarding which type of fertilizer and when they should use this. Also, the issues caused by weeds can be substantial. When in doubt about these issues, simply reach out to a professional and ask for help. Someone is always willing to lend a helping hand.

Plumbing Issues Are Common

It is important to do a home inspection before buying a home. This will let the potential buyer know about any repairs they might be inheriting. Some of the common issues have to do with the plumbing system.

One of the most common issues has to do with clogs. Sometimes, the clog takes place in the sink when someone tries to force food down the drain. In other situations, toilets might get clogged if something other than toilet paper gets flushed down the toilet. While a basic plunger is a great place to start, it is also prudent to invest in some drain cleaner and a snake.

The Lights Go Out

Sometimes, people are shocked to see the power go out during a storm. In some cases, the power company may need to come out and handle the repairs. In other situations, it might be a tripped circuit breaker. When the power goes out, head to the circuit breaker and take a look at any fuses that might be turned off. Unplug some of the appliances and then turn the circuit breaker back on! This might do the trick, but if it goes out again, call an electrician.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional.