Lighting is a Must
Basements can be dank spaces with little light. Lighting is essential. This will help prevent accidents and make the basement much safer. There are lots of ways to bring lighting to your basement. Basement window wells bring in natural light and air. Other parts of the basement benefit from artificial lighting of all kinds. Begin with any stairs to the basement. Stairs should have enough lighting so everyone can see where theyre going even late at night. Overhead lights are a good choice as they can illuminate all parts of the basement. Set up a cozy corner in one part of the space with scattered uplights.
Many homeowners choose to use the basement for additional storage. Make this task easier with the right kind of storage. For example, consider lots of built-in storage. Use the staircase to put in extra shelving. Storage space can also be carved out of other spaces in the basement. Using awkward spaces such as little corners allows every single space to be used efficiently. Add in other options. A hanger with hooks for clothing and cubicles next to the door are good choices that help you stay organized.
Dress up Plain Drywall
The basement drywall can feel drab and unappealing. It can be hard to clean and get dinghy over time. Make the basement more appealing by redoing the walls. Wainscot paneling is a great way to add detail. Use them to help define the space better. Paint the bottom of the panels white to bring in more color. You can also consider adding a contrasting color such as vivid red or deep blue to help show off the panels fine details. This is also a good space to use your favorite fabrics. If you have a collection of scarves from your travels abroad, hang them across the walls. Theyll add color and pattern. Create a man cave feel in this part of your home with dark green walls and lots of pictures of your favorite sports teams everywhere.
Your basement floors need to be thought about carefully. You want flooring that can take a beating and still look good. This is a good place for options that are soft underfoot and easy to clean. Rubber tiles offer lots of give for a basement youre using as a family room. Tile is durable and stands up to potential water damage easily without staining. Tiles that look like wood offer a warm welcome and yet are also easy to clean and will take on water without a problem in the event the basement floods. You can layer on the texture and warmth with lots of different kinds of rugs. Place several in varied areas. This helps define each space and provide softness underfoot when you want to take off your shoes and snuggle up with your family as you all watch your favorite shows.
Extra space in any home is incredibly useful. The basement offers the space youll need to hold a party, welcome guests or just stretch out on a cold winter day. Making your basement more livable is easier than ever. Lighting, storage, and flooring help bring it to life.
Start to Prepare Early
You might be surprised how experienced your >
The best place to search for a rental apartment that allows pets is the internet. You can also like Facebook pages or join Whatsapp groups dedicated to rental services. You can also check the lists of apartments that allow tenants to move in with their pets with the Animal Humane Society.
Offer to Pay a Refundable Pet Deposit
Pets can damage rental properties, and property owners are responsible for ensuring tenants cover any damage caused by their pets once they move out. Your landlord is likely to ask for a pet deposit because it gives them a sense of security, so donrsquo;t hesitate to pay it. However, some, if not all of this money will come back your way because pet deposit is usually refundable.
Brush up Your Petrsquo;s Resume
Of course, you want to move with your lovely pet wherever you go, but pets arenrsquo;t welcome in all rental houses. Convincing a landlord why you have to move in with your pet can sometimes be difficult. Thus, itrsquo;s crucial for tenants to pitch not only themselves but also their pets. Consider reaching out to former landlords, vets, and obedience trainers for recommendation letters to show your landlord. You can also draft your petrsquo;s resume detailing its medical history, age, certification, and breed. You can also suggest to set up a pet interview if the landlord is still not convinced why they should allow you to move in with your pet.
Consult Your Vet
Your pet might need to undergo certain tests before you move with it across state borders. The USDA requires that every pet that will cross state lines to be vaccinated against rabies and obtain certification from a veterinarian. The same requirements apply to overseas travels but can differ based on the country yoursquo;re >
Anymore, agents are utilizing social media, newsletters, mailers, and so much more in their marketing plans in order to stay in front of past, present, and potential clients, but one of the most valuable tools that every agent needs to add to their marketing repertoire is the use of engaging videos. Donrsquo;t believe us? Here are five reasons why every real estate agent should be using video marketing:
5. Theyrsquo;ll remember you
According to Insivia, the average viewer retains 95 of a message when they watch it, versus when they read it in text. Take market conditions, for example. Market conditions can be difficult to swallow for the average consumer, but integrating a market conditions video will make them much more user friendly, all while providing useful information your clients will thank you for.
4. Yoursquo;ll go ldquo;viralrdquo;
Chances are yoursquo;re currently utilizing social media as part of your marketing plan, but if you arenrsquo;t seeing the engagement yoursquo;re hoping for from your followers, video could be the solution. Sharing videos to your social feeds generates 1,200 more shares than text and images combined. Plus, 92 of users watching video on mobile devices will share it. Consider posting more videos in order to engage your audience, get shares, and expand your reach. Try a video about real estate advice or home improvement ideas. Even if yoursquo;re camera shy or not savvy with a video camera, these videos can be totally done-for-you with your branding and agent info.
3. Videos help consumers buy
Forbes states that 90 of consumers use video to assist them with making buying decisions, while 64 of consumers say that watching a video makes them more likely to buy that product. Consider what those stats could do for a listing video; agents who utilize video as part of their listing strategy will likely see a rise in offers and viewing requests, thus, increasing the likelihood of increased sales.
2. Itrsquo;s great for your websitersquo;s SEO
Every real estate agent vies for the opportunity to be listed on the first page of Google search results ndash; adding video to your landing page can help. In fact, video drives up to a 157 increase in organic traffic from search engines to your website, and makes it 53 more likely to show up on page one search results. Not to mention that websites that include video on their landing pages have historically seen an 80 increase in conversions. Not bad at all
1. Video makes an incredible first point of contact
Whether you utilize an e-newsletter service, or simply want to get a better response rate in your everyday communications with potential clients, video can help. Including a video in place of a lengthy email text actually increases your click-through rate by 300. This is yet another place where a listing video can come in handy, or even an agent introduction video to give your potential client an idea of who you are as an agent, without having to spend time reading your digital ldquo;resume.rdquo;
If video marketing isnrsquo;t currently in your marketing arsenal, it should be. Not sure where to start? Wersquo;ve got you covered. Give the VScreen marketing suite a try with their free two-week trial. Yoursquo;ll be able to utilize their totally customized and done-for-you video products to see just how beneficial video marketing can be to your business.
At this point, the jury is out. But people have some feelings.
What is Redfin Direct?
ldquo;Real-estate broker Redfin Corp. will allow visitors to its website to make an offer on a house with a click of a button, marking a renewed effort to reduce the role of real-estate agents,rdquo; said the Wall Street Journal.
It works like this, according to MarketWatch: ldquo;Homes listed by Redfin in a market where the program is available get a banner ad on the online listing explaining that the home can be bought lsquo;online without an agent.rsquo; The listing agent, or person representing the seller, will be paid the standard Redfin commission, which is either 1 or 1.5 of the sale price of the home. Redfin Direct calculates 2 of the asking price of the home, which is the average of what a buyerrsquo;s agent might expect to be paid. That amount is split between buyer and seller, saving both money.rdquo;
Unrepresented buyers would answer 55 questions, which Redfin calls a ldquo;step-by-step guiderdquo; to generate the offer paperwork. A general inspection contingency is included.
So, in essence, Redfin is providing buyers with the tools they would have had if they used an agent, but without the guidance. Which is kind of important. Right?
Will it work?
The company first launched Redfin Direct back in 2006, but it was a bust. ldquo;Redfin didnrsquo;t have the huge volume of listings it does today mdash; 25,000 in 2018 mdash; nor the tech capabilities to make direct offers feasible,rdquo; said GeekWire.
Boston is the companyrsquo;s test market, so letrsquo;s take a look at whatrsquo;s happened there since the launch. ldquo;Of the 122 Boston Redfin listings that have accepted an offer since March 28, the company said, five were Redfin Direct offers,rdquo; said GeekWire. ldquo;Another 12 of those listings rejected a direct offer, though they were competitive. Redfin said 77 percent of the offers were within 5 percent of asking price and 30 percent were cash offers.rdquo;
Are we missing something?
But did the buyers feel taken care of? Listings and tech capabilities are great, but removing the element of representation feelshellip;scary? Bad? Sad? Not in line with the whole facilitating the ldquo;American dreamrdquo; thing?
Rob Hahn, a veteran real-estate industry consultant, echoes what many in the industry are saying about this program. ldquo;Most people buying a house would prefer to be represented,rdquo; he said to MarketWatch. ldquo;Given the current setup of compensation, buyers donrsquo;t feel like theyrsquo;re paying for it. My gut feeling is, most people when theyrsquo;re spending 200,000-300,000 or more want someone to hold their hand.rdquo;
Fast Company likened the program to ldquo;TurboTax for home buying,rdquo; which could either be a compliment or an insult; Wersquo;re not sure. It should also be noted that, on the earnings call during which Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman announced the program, he said ldquo;he believes the vast majority of people will still want an agent to guide them through the complex process of buying a home,rdquo; said Fast Company. ldquo;But the Direct program could appeal to a new kind of savvy consumer: People willing to do it themselves for a better price.rdquo;
So therersquo;s that. Redfin has said their expansion plans include heading to Virginia next.
In this article, wersquo;ll talk about a few of the home upgrades and modern features first-time younger homebuyers should consider.
Older homes in the Portland area have one big mdash; or rather not so big mdash; drawback: small galley->
Ideas for your kitchen remodel:
bull; Kitchen island - Great place for hidden storage, a prep sink, extra counter space, or just a place to sit and eat
bull; Modern appliances - Reduce your electric bill and environmental footprint. Plus, modern appliances make cooking more enjoyable.
bull; Custom cabinetry and built-in storage - Custom cabinets can change how your kitchen looks and feels. Built-in storage is customizable to meet your needs and more flexible than standalone shelving.
Open floor plans
Just like the small kitchens common in these homes, older properties frequently feature heavily closed-off floor plans. Modern homeowners tend to prefer a more flexible open floor plan. Open floor plans make a home feel more airy, spacious, and brighter. More natural light in your home is always a good thing, especially during a long and gloomy winter.
Ideas for your open floor plan:
bull; Connect kitchen and dining room - Great for families who love to entertain.
bull; Create nooks and private areas - Use furniture or other design elements to help an open floor plan flow.
bull; Add larger windows for even more light - Big windows mean big light Custom window coverings add privacy when needed. Plus new energy-efficient double-pane windows are better at insulating your home.
Whole home transformations
Sometimes itrsquo;s better to start from scratch. If your fixer-upper needs a lot of work, you might get the most value out of a whole home remodel. You can create a cohesive design that checks all the boxes yoursquo;ve been looking for in your dream home. If you love your neighborhood but donrsquo;t love your home, think about a whole home remodel.
Ideas for your whole home remodel:
bull; Upgrade electricity and plumbing - If yoursquo;ve got an outdated electrical system or your plumbing needs some work, tackle those projects while yoursquo;re remodeling to save money down the road.
bull; Expand your closets - Buying an older home usually means fewer and smaller closets. Borrow a little space during your whole home remodel to make your closets bigger and more useful.
bull; Change your floor plan - Anything is on the table during a whole home remodel Donrsquo;t like where a bedroom is? Move it. Need an extra half bath in the basement? Do it
Finished basement space
Many older homes also feature a basement, but theyrsquo;re often unfinished, minimally insulated, and poorly waterproofed. Pest infestations, water damage, and mold growth are all common in unfinished basement spaces.
Younger homeowners may find that finishing their basement can pay off in increased resale value down the road, additional and useful living and storage space, and even improved energy efficiency.
Ideas for your basement remodel:
bull; Create an apartment or Airbnb suite - Earn extra income and build equity in your new home.
bull; Add a family room or playroom for kids - When your family grows, your kids will need space of their own.
bull; Build a home office, gym, or home theater room - Your home is your oasis. Find what brings you joy and make it part of your home
Outdoor living space
In places blessed with mild and beautiful spring and summer weather Take advantage of it. Wersquo;re seeing more and more Millennials looking to create outdoor living spaces like decks and patios. Outdoor living spaces are more than just a great investment, theyrsquo;re a way to feel more connected to nature.
Ideas for your deck or patio addition:
bull; Seamless integration with your master suite - Just imagine starting your day by stepping from your master suite onto your custom deck mdash; thatrsquo;s the life.
bull; Outdoor kitchen for summer dinner parties - Whatrsquo;s better than an evening BBQ or night around a roaring fire with friends and family? Smores anyone?
bull; Covered and heated seating - Now yoursquo;ll be able to enjoy your outdoor living space all year round.
Modernize your bathroom
Therersquo;s no better way to pamper yourself than with a truly luxurious bathroom. And itrsquo;s a great investment, too On average bathroom remodels provide a 70 return. But we find that homeowners love their new bathrooms far beyond the return on their investment. When your bathroom is more than just another room in the house, it becomes a place to >
Ideas for your modern bathroom:
bull; In-floor heating - Warm floors on a cold winter morning? Yes, please
bull; Soaking or jacuzzi tub - Who needs to make the trip to spa or hot springs when you have your own private heated soaking tub at home?
bull; Dual sinks - Save time getting ready in the morning by giving yourself and your partner the personal space you need. No more fights over whorsquo;s taking more time in the bathroom
If your familyrsquo;s starting to grow, you run a home business, or you just find your home a bit too cramped, a home addition might be just what the doctor ordered. Younger homeowners find that added space helps them truly love and enjoy their homes that much more.
Ideas for your home addition:
bull; Add rooms - Home offices, extra bedrooms, or a guest bathroom are all popular home additions
bull; Make rooms bigger - With a thoughtful design and expert construction, an addition can look like a seamless part of your homersquo;s original design
bull; Add an ADU or MIL apartment - Great for guests or to use as a rental, a thoughtfully designed ADU can add a lot of value to your property.
I hope these ideas have inspired you to imagine the possibilities and create a home yoursquo;ll love.
Erin Davis is lead designer of Mosaik Design amp; Remodeling in Portland, Oregon.
In a market inundated with realty advertising , letrsquo;s look at 4 critical areas where first-time homeowners run into trouble.
Pre-Approval is Not Approval
Homebuyers are inundated with commercials on TV and the internet telling them that they can get pre-approved for a certain amount and shop with the confidence of a cash buyer. This is a bit of an exaggeration. Pre-approval is a good first step. But, itrsquo;s important to understand that a pre-approval is different from an approval.
Pre-Approval is when a lender tells you that you are approved for a certain loan, with general terms, but does not require you to provide paperwork and other supporting documentation.
Approval is when the lender has completed the underwriting process and offers you a firm loan offer that can be executed.
The easiest way to know the difference is to consider what information the bank has required of you at this stage. First time homebuyers are understandably upset when they select a home based on what they thought was an approval, only to find that some information came up during the underwriting process that cancelled out their pre-approval.
Digital Verification vs. Manual Verification
In the final stages of becoming approved for a mortgage, yoursquo;ll need to provide proof of income and other financial disclosures. Most mortgage lenders offer homebuyers the option of enrolling in digital verification. This means that the lender can digitally access your required documentation on your behalf. Some of this information will need to be manually uploaded, but the ability to digitize these records will allow the entire underwriting process to be expedited.
Manual verification involves a loan officer giving you a long checklist of documents theyrsquo;ll need in order to verify your identity, income and existing financial obligations. Manual verification can take three-times as long because you need to gather the documents, submit them to the lender and then the lender needs to manually verify their authenticity.
If you are given the option, enroll in digital verification.
How much home can you really afford?
If yoursquo;re used to paying rent, the idea of a less-expensive mortgage payment may seem appealing. After-all, landlords price-in the various additional costs they have into your monthly rental payment. If you could just pay the mortgage, it seems that yoursquo;d lower your overall housing costs.
This is not exactly true. Just because you can afford the mortgage payment does not mean you can afford the full cost of homeownership. Be sure to inquire into the real costs, including:
bull; PMI: Private Mortgage Insurance
bull; Homeownerrsquo;s Insurance Premiums, Deductibles and Coverage Limitations
bull; Maintenance Costs: While renting, your landlord took care of all the costs associated with your residencersquo;s maintenance. As a homeowner, if a major appliance fails, or therersquo;s structural wear and tear, itrsquo;s your financial responsibility.
bull; Natural Disasters: Hurricanes, tornadoes and forest fires can cause substantial damage to your home. Homeownerrsquo;s insurance can help with this, but there are policy exceptions. The average ranch->
bull; Property Taxes are often rolled into the monthly mortgage cost, but itrsquo;s important to understand the various fees and assessments yoursquo;ll be required to pay for your property.
Just because itrsquo;s on the internet, doesnrsquo;t make it true.
Most homeowners turn to their smartphones or laptops when home shopping. Online listings for homes and properties are filled with heavily enhanced photos of the property - from the best angles, of course.
Future properties, or areas that are still being developed are impossible to see in-person. But, itrsquo;s important to dig deeper than an architectural rendering or an artist impression. This article about off-plan purchases highlights a few examples where the mock-ups provided to potential residents were way off the mark. This includes:
bull; Amenities, like pools, which are far smaller once constructed - an important consideration for apartment buildings with hundreds of residents.
bull; The perspective is enhanced to make a future high-rise look far larger than other surrounding buildings - implying that views will be more breathtaking than they will be in reality.
To avoid getting taken advantage of, they recommend visiting the construction site yourself, viewing the surrounding area on Google Maps and take advantage of Google Earthrsquo;s features that show building shadows and other factors that could impact your future home.
In conclusion, there are many pitfalls for first-time homebuyers. A pre-approval is a great first step, but itrsquo;s only the beginning of the actual approval process. Donrsquo;t make the mistake of selecting manual verification when digital verification is available - especially if timing is a factor. And just because you can get a loan, does not mean you can afford the total cost of home ownership. And, as always, trust but verify. If yoursquo;re looking at an online listing or prospectus, nothing can substitute an in-person visit to the construction site.
The new smog-reducing roof Granules from 3Mnbsp;will ldquo;harness the power of the sun to improve air quality, a first of its kind roof type,rdquo; said the company. ldquo;The smog-reducing granules are mixed with standard roofing granules allowing shingles to maintain their trusted performance and visual appeal while improving our climate.rdquo;
The science behind the product looks like this: The patented granules ldquo;contain a photocatalytic coating layer that >
That photocatalytic coating was designed to be used with asphalt roofing, which, by some accounts, is used on the roofs of at least 75 percent of homes today.
3M has gone to some length to prove their claim of improved air quality, conducting their own in-house tests and also taking the product to Lawrence Berkeley National Lab to have the granules evaluated for their effectiveness in absorbing various gases and pollutants. ldquo;They found that an average-sized roof coated in granules removes around as much pollution from the air as three trees could,rdquo; said Fast Company. ldquo;One company that sources from 3M, Malarkey Roofing, has pledged to incorporate the smog-reducing granules into all of their shingles. So far, Malarkey shingles have pulled the equivalent amount of smog from the air as 100,000 trees.rdquo; In fact, Malarkey Roofing Products has announced the inclusion of 3M Smog-reducing Granules to the Highlander NEX laminated architectural roofing shingle line.
For their efforts, 3M was also named to TIME Magazinersquo;s list of Best Inventions of 2018 in the Sustainability amp; Social Good category.
ldquo;Smog-reducing technology, embedded into mainstream roofing materialsrdquo; are a ldquo;great step forward in addressing air quality and climate concerns,rdquo; said Jonathan Parfrey, founder and executive director of Climate Resolve, a U.S. non-profit organization ldquo;focused on local solutions to global climate change.rdquo;
The product could have huge application in the residential roofing market, which has not been as robust as commercial building when it comes to conservation. ldquo;Commercial buildings for many years have had solutions such as solar-reflective granules and lsquo;green roofs,rsquo; which grow grass or gardens on top of buildings to help with the environment,rdquo; said the Star Tribune.
ldquo;Tariffs on goods traded between the U.S. and China have already increased in several stages since early 2018,rdquo; said CNBC. ldquo;Now, President Donald Trump has added a 25 tariff up from his original proposal of 10 on another 200 billion worth of Chinese imports, and China hit back with 5 to 10 percent duties on another 60 billion worth of U.S. goods.rdquo;
Experts say we could be seeing higher prices as a result of this escalation as early as this summer, and that has economists yelling, ldquo;Buy, buy, buy nowrdquo; in order to avoid what a report from Oxford Economics estimates will be an 800 hit to every U.S. household.
There is some question as to how the tariffs will play outmdash;after all, Trump said that China will suffer most of the economic impact. ldquo;Yet experts say the burden will land squa>
So what can you do? Ramp up future spending now, if possible.
ldquo;To get ahead of the next waves of tariffs, University of California, Davis, professor of economics and specialist in international trade Katheryn Russ recommends buying some items now, if possible mdash; such as backpacks and other back-to-school supplies mdash; rather than holding off until later in the year,rdquo; said CNBC. Ditto for things like iPhones; ldquo;The price for an iPhone XS would rise to 1,142, up from 1,000, if the White House implements a 25 tariff on the rest of China imports, J.P. Morgan said in a note to clients.rdquo; Expect a ldquo;similar impact on TVs and everyday purchases, ldquo;where consumers will be harder hit, such as frozen food and paper goods, including diapers and paper towels.rdquo;
Phil Crone, Executive Officer of the Dallas Builders Association, warns of the effect on the housing market. ldquo;From tile to countertops, laminates, lighting, and furnishing, about 450 products commonly found in new homes and remodeling projects are seeing tariffs rise from 10 percent to 25 percent,rdquo; he said. ldquo;According to the National Association of Home Builders NAHB, homeowners and homebuilders nationwide will be paying an additional 2.5 billion.rdquo;
If you spend hours on the internet trying to find your dream home by searching through photos or video of properties, you may be overlooking important flaws in this superficial approach to evaluating real estate.
The big question is: What percentage of time are you incorrect in your decision to discard a property based on a photograph?
Judging a property by its photograph may prove expensive when you discard poor photos without knowing if they represent excellent real estate opportunity for you. Just ask yourself, how many selfies does it take to achieve a great and, therefore, accurate picture of you?
Even when you eventually find photogenic real estate to visit, how many better choices or better bargains did you miss out on because you did not approve their visuals?
bull; Have you studied photography and earned the advantage of knowing how to evaluate second-rate equipment or poor photographic technique that results in failure to present a homersquo;s good bones or reveal a hidden gem worth a closer look? Even a good photo may present poorly as an online image through bad decisions regarding lighting, resolution, cropping, coloration....
bull; What percentage of properties are discarded because the photo is unappealing? Listing photos are not intended as works of art. Was this a drive-by photo where the photographer did not get out the car because they had so many photos to take? Was it raining or snowing that day? Just like people, houses have a ldquo;good siderdquo; and a ldquo;bad side.rdquo; Which side is in the photo?
bull; Do you have a magazine or Instagram pic in mind that you are intent on matching? Houses that are beautiful from the curb earn high-value ratings >
bull; You canrsquo;t live in a photograph or even a video. Ideally, a photograph or short video of a property should reveal all the benefits of the buildings and the land. In reality, most photographic representations fall short of this goal. Some are more successful that others, but none are a substitute for experiencing ldquo;the big picturerdquo; first-hand: the feeling of being there, the volume of rooms, the acoustics of the building, the effects of daylight, the flow through the buildinghellip;the reality of inspecting the property yourself. In addition, street-face photos cannot reveal interiors that are in marked contrast to facades: a house with a renovated, ultra-modern interior may maintain its historic exterior.
bull; What percentage of the time are you attracted by a great photo of a house, which you later discover has ldquo;a lot of uglyrdquo; going on outside the photo i.e. beside the house is a high-rise building, auto body shop, shopping mall, night clubhellip;? Or, did you discard a property which, invisible to you, had wonderful green space around it? Since location is the most important value factor in real estate, how
can a photo of a property in isolation enable you to fully evaluate its location value without knowing context?
The above list of flawed reasons for discarding properties based on photographic representations explains how you may allow your lack of knowledge, on many levels, to limit your ultimate success identifying desirable real estate. Select only the ldquo;pretty picturesrdquo; and you may inadvertently eliminate properties that would be ideal and perhaps less expensive purchases for you and your family.
The Smart Approach
Wersquo;re not advising that you view every listed property. Instead, work with experienced real estate professionals whorsquo;ll process listings, visit properties using your criteria, and, therefore, save you time by selecting the best prospects for you to view.
Describe what yoursquo;ll want in a new home and the professional will converse with you to clarify that description for you and for them. Buyers are often surprised when these conversations reveal how much they had not realized about what they thought they wanted and needed.
Search out a professional who makes it their business to know area product from the outside in. Theyrsquo;ll share their insider view, so you wonrsquo;t miss out on what could be your dream home. This informed culling of properties will save you from having to view too many properties that are a poor fit for your needs and dreams.
ldquo;This house was a big surprise inside; from the outside, it looked much smaller,rdquo; is a common buyer observation. Most buyers, particularly first-timers or first-time-in-a-long-time buyers, are not experts at architecture or construction, nor have they inspected as many properties as experienced real estate professionals.
Your secret weapon is your real estate professional who makes it their business to keep up-to-date viewing area listings. They understand the advantages of knowing the whole property and its entire potential, not just its street face. They appreciate the difference between a real estate dream and a home thatrsquo;s a dream to live in.
Professionals are also aware of smart buying strategies based on poor photos or less inspiring facades. For instance, if yoursquo;d like to invest in the best location your budget will allow, there may be advantages to viewing properties in choice neighborhoods with less attractive street faces. When there is value in the location, interior, and backyard, over time the curb view can be improved on, increasing property value in the process.
A jumbo loan is one where the loan amount exceeds current conforming loan limits. Conforming loans are those that conform to standards issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. One of the many requirements for a conforming loan is the loan limit which is currently 484,350 in most parts of the country. In higher cost areas where home values are much greater compared to the rest of the country, the conforming limit can be as high as 726,525. Beyond that is jumbo territory. When applying for financing to purchase a higher end home, jumbo approvals are issued in much the same manner as other types of loans, itrsquo;s just a bit more difficult to qualify for one.
Conforming loans can ask for a down payment for as little as 5.0 percent of the sales price. With a down payment of less than 20 percent however, private mortgage insurance, or PMI, will be needed. PMI insures the difference between 20 percent down and the actual amount of down payment. with a 5.0 percent down payment, the insurance would cover 15 percent. With jumbo loans however there is no PMI available. That means the loan amount for a jumbo loan should be no greater than 80 percent of the sales price. This equates to a 20 percent down payment, but slightly better terms are offered with a down payment of 25 percent or more. There are some niche portfolio products that ask for a lower down payment but in general this is what you can expect.
Credit score minimums are also higher for most jumbo loans. Conforming loan programs can go as low as 600 or so but jumbo loans need higher scores. Minimum scores can vary from one lender to the next but not by very much. Many jumbo loans ask for a minimum credit score of 700 while a few programs need a score of 680. Better rates and terms are typically available with a credit score of 740. If there are two borrowers on the same application, the lender will use the lower of the two qualifying scores.
Finally, jumbo loans typically require a bit more documentation both from the borrower as well as third parties. For example, a jumbo loan program might need two appraisals instead of just one. Again, if there are two appraisals, the lender will use the lower value for approval purposes. Jumbo loan applications are also fully documented. There are no ldquo;statedrdquo; type loans where income or employment is not verified via third parties. There are a couple of programs out there that review 12 months of bank statements in lieu of paycheck stubs or W2s, but the bank statements must show regular monthly deposits from a verified source.
On these statements, there needs to be sufficient cash to close for the down payment, closing costs and cash reserves. Lenders can separately mail a Verification of Deposit to the financial institution asking the bank to verify how much cash is in the bank as well as an average of recent balances.
Jumbo lenders can set their own guidelines because theyrsquo;re not bound to conforming rules which means qualifying at one lender may be easier or more difficult compared to another. Your loan officer will tell you what types of documentation yoursquo;ll need to provide, but once submitted, your jumbo loan application will be processed just like any other.
Direct Control ndash; When investing in real estate, you have direct control over your asset. You select the property ndash; value, size, neighborhood. You decide what repairs to make. You select your contractors. You choose to flip or choose suitable tenants. hellip;. You get the picture? Itrsquo;s in your hands to control and not up to the fickle markets or what some talking head or politician said in a news conference yesterday.
Insurance ndash; You can insure your property. In fact, if you take out a mortgage, your lender will most likely require that you have property insurance. This easily mitigates potential losses from fire, theft, etc. Although the FDIC insures your money sitting in banks, there is no comparable insurance for monies invested in your employerrsquo;s 401k or other investment accounts. If your investment property goes up in flames, yoursquo;re covered. If the market and your 401k tank, your money is gone. You can even get insurance against loss of rents if you find yourself without a tenant for whatever reason.
No ups and downs ndash; Traditional stocks are known to shoot up one day and plummet the next, leaving your nest egg empty and your nerves fried. And to the first point, you have no control over what will happen next. Real estate tends to be steadier and more predictable. As long as yoursquo;ve done your research, you will know what to expect in your market. Property values do not usually plummet overnight; you see it coming as the market slows and can change course as needed. If your market is slowing, you can speed up your current projects and start making lower offers on new properties you are reviewing. If your market is growing, you can ramp up purchases at higher prices knowing yoursquo;ll be able to sell or rent at higher prices as well.
Tax Deferral ndash; When you sell a property, you have to pay taxes. However, using the 1031 Exchange program, you can sell one property and purchase another of equal or greater value and defer the tax liability. Think about the power in that If all you can afford today is a small house that generates 100 per month cash flow, buy it. It will probably appreciate over time. Sell it for more than you bought it, and buy a nicer house that generates 200 per month cash flow. Repeat, repeat, repeat increasing your cash flow and equity as you go.
Rentals have some special pros to highlight, specifically dealing with your income and wealth.
bull; You can increase your monthly income. As long as your rent covers PITI principal, interest, taxes, insurance plus a little for maintenance, the rest goes into your pocket. Use it how you want, but I suggest investing in more rentals.
bull; Your wealth increases via equity build up / principal paydown. A portion of each rent check goes towards principal which increases the equity you have in the house. You donrsquo;t pay your mortgage; the tenant does.
bull; You can decrease your taxes. You can spend a little or a lot to repair a house. The losses on paper that you make while renovating a property can be used to reduce your tax liability. Check with an experienced accountant who is familiar with real estate to find out exactly how this can be done.
Time/Research ndash; Unlike your 401k or the stock market, you canrsquo;t just review a brochure of curated investments and buy something todayhellip; and you shouldnrsquo;t. Not to say you canrsquo;t get started quickly, but real estate investing takes a little time and research to get up to speed. You donrsquo;t need to know it all, but you should think about where you want to purchase property, what are the values doing going up or down, do you want to flip or rent, how big of a renovation are you willing to do? On the bright side, there are lots of books, blogs, and websites to peruse. An even better place to get started is your local real estate investing groups that can be found on-line. Just do a google search and go meet people who are already investing.
Contractors ndash; The saying lsquo;herding catsrsquo; is absolutely appropriate here. A fast, affordable, quality contractor can be difficult to find. Donrsquo;t get discouraged, but do prepare to go through several contractors before you find the right fit for you and your goals. Once you find them, be clear with what you want done, treat them well, pay them on time. You need them for your next job, too
Not liquid ndash; Real estate is, again, not like a 401k or stock. You canrsquo;t just click a button or sign a piece of paper to get your money out. You have to prepare it and then list it either for sale or renthellip; and wait. So, if you anticipate needing your money for something else at any given moment, real estate might not be for you.
To summarize, while real estate investing takes some work, the pros outweigh the cons. If you decide to dive in, do your homework, be patient, and watch your income and net worth grow. When you have questions or run into problems, network Someone else has already been through it and can help you along.
Here are the top 10 reasons why your home isnrsquo;t selling and donrsquo;t worry, most of them are fixable.
1. You Lack Marketing
ldquo;If we build it, they will come.rdquo; This doesnrsquo;t prove true for many new and sometimes, useful products. And same goes for when you put your home up for sale. Just putting it up on the market isnrsquo;t enough. You need to post your listing in as many places as possible. Most of these places are online. Online is the first place potential buyers check out.
Real estate agents can also be great resources for this. If you havenrsquo;t hire one, think about it. If you have, make sure they are doing their job. Ask questions regarding where your house is listed. And if they arenrsquo;t doing a good job, it might prove best to switch agents - Find someone that knows what they are doing and has ample experience.
2. Your House is Priced Too High
This is a common mistake. Too high of a price wonrsquo;t exactly woe any buyers. It can deter people from even viewing your home - Itrsquo;s not in their budget. And it may be obvious that the home isnrsquo;t worth the price tag. You should do your market research before determining a price for your home. Compare your home to others currently on the market. Again, a real estate agent can help you out with this
3. Your Home is In Serious Need of Repairs
A lot of people donrsquo;t want to buy a home that needs work. It isnrsquo;t ideal. So, what can you do? You could have someone come in and do a pre-listing inspection. From there, fix the problems. It will help you sell your house faster.
4. Your Home Isnrsquo;t Prepared For Showings
That first impression matters If you havenrsquo;t done it yet, get an expert to set up or make suggestions to switch things up so your house shows better. You might have to move furniture around. But it is enti>
Other ways to make your house show worthy? Make sure it is tidy and clean. If you have pets, clean up after them. Pay attention to the temperature. If itrsquo;s winter, make sure it feels warm and inviting. If itrsquo;s summer, make sure you have the A/C on and working.
5. Your Location is Anything But Ideal
This is a tough one to fix. If the location isnrsquo;t exactly sought-after, be prepared to play the waiting game. It might just take more time to find that perfect buyer.
6. It Smells
We get used to the smell of our own home. And unfortunately, it can be hard to detect. Some of the most common odors that throw buyers off include cigarettes, pets, food, and moisture. Do a smell test. Have a friend or neighbour come by to make sure you are good to go.
7. Bad Timing
In real estate, there is a good time to sell and a bad time to sell. If the market isnrsquo;t looking good to sell, it may be best to wait and there are tons of reasons that this may be the case. Do your research. Ask your local real estate agent. Find the right time for your area and location.
8. The Local Market is Working Against You
Itrsquo;s not just timing you have to worry about. Are a lot of people selling around you? Is it a buyers market in your area? That might be why your home isnrsquo;t selling. Again, your real estate agent should be able to point you in the right direction for this one. The time of year plus the number of houses on sale play a huge role in whether your house sells or not.
9. You Hired The Wrong Real Estate Agent
This can be a major problem. You want someone with experience, who is >
10. You Arenrsquo;t Flexible
You stand your ground on your asking price. But everyone is putting in offers that are lower. You donrsquo;t bother with repairs even though itrsquo;s the main reason your home inspection fell through. These could potentially be reasons why your home isnrsquo;t selling. Get those repairs done. Be flexible and realistic when it comes to pricing and offers. Or else yes, it will take a lot more time for your house to sell.
Go through the above reasons and be honest with yourself. Determine why your home isnrsquo;t selling - then, find ways to fix the problem. Or at least come to terms with it. Donrsquo;t make selling your home more of a hassle or process than it has to be.
Kurtis Forster is a real estate agent for Team Forster in London, Ontario. He brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise about buying and selling real estate.nbsp;
Set Your Thermostat
If you will be leaving your house unattended during the winter months, make sure your thermostat is set to 55 degrees. This will keep your house warm enough to prevent freezing and bursting water pipes, which can cause severe flooding and water damage. If your travels take you away from home during warmer weather, you should leave the AC unit on in order to prevent mold, mildew, and other conditions caused by heat and humidity. Adjust your thermostat to 85 degrees or less to regulate usage of the air conditioning. If you can, invest in a smart thermostat, which can be controlled via a handy smartphone app wherever you are. This is a great, convenient way to make sure your home is always protected from weather->
Turn Water Off
When you are going to be away for an extended period of time, its a good idea to turn off your main water line. This can prevent plumbing leaks from occurring in your absence, which can result in significant water damage and costly repairs.nbsp;After shutting off the main water valve, let your kitchen and bathroom faucets run dry, ensuring that no water is left in the pipes.
If you have a sprinkler system that needs to run while you are away, or if your heating system works with steam radiators or hot water, it is not a good idea to shut your water off at the main valve. However, anyone who doesnt have these special considerations should turn it off to avoid future problems upon your return. By turning off the water before you leave, you are saving yourself a potential headache when you get back
Wrap Toilet Bowls With Plastic Wrap
No, this isnt an elaborate prank for your family and friends By wrapping your toilet bowls, you are preventing sewer fumes from entering your home. Leaving your toilets unwrapped can result in a less-than-pleasant "welcome home" when you walk in the door. Just be sure to mark the cling wrap with a big black "X" or other warning symbol to prevent anyone from accidentally using the toilet with the wrap in place.
Empty the Fridge
Apart from the main reason of not wanting the food in your refrigerator to turn into a moldy, stinky science experiment while youre away, its also a good idea to empty the fridge of all perishables in order to completely defrost and unplug it if youre going to be gone for a very long time. This will save energy and not force the fridge to keep running when its not in use.
Travel is one of the most enriching things we can do in life- an ideal opportunity to meet new friends, share new experiences, and learn new things. By knowing how to properly take care of your home in your absence, you can have one less thing on your mind while you are away from home having adventures
Plumbing affects several areas in your home from the bathroom to the kitchen. Plumbing problems can arise suddenly, without warning. While some minor issues are easily fixed, some difficulties can quickly escalate into a major crisis that causes damage to your home. If this isnt taken care of immediately, you can suffer thousands of dollars in loss, with lasting consequences.
How can you potentially limit a plumbing disaster? Here are some helpful tips that you can apply to protect your home:
Shut off the Water
As soon as emergency strikes, turn off the source of water immediately. It can be as simple as turning off the valve at the base of your commode. However, if larger emergencies like flooding occur, turn off the main valve in your home. Most water valves usually have to be turned off clockwise.
Turn Off the Electricity
Electricity and water will always make a deadly combination. If there is any chance that the flooded water does come into contact with any electrical circuit, then, stay away from the leaking or flooded water. If you can reach for the main switch without touching any of the water, the better. The next thing you can do is to turn off the power switch and disable the circuits.
Check Your Water Heater
After youve stopped the flooding and flow of water into your home using the main switch, you will have to turn off your water heater as well. Its crucial to note that once the all the water in your home is shut off, there is a tendency that the pressure and the water levels inside your water heater will start to rise. This situation is potentially dangerous once the pressure increases above the heaters limit, the unit can burst, making the whole situation even more hazardous.
Wear Protective Rubber Gloves
For your safety and protection, wear rubber boots and gloves if the leak is contaminated by the sewage or is in a drain line. Even after the whole area is cleaned and dried, you still need to disinfect it after thoroughly.
Assess the Damage
Before you call a professional, try to asses the damage first. Providing the plumber with sufficient information over the phone gives them a good idea of the problem at hand. As a result, they can quickly fix the problem.
Open Drains and Spigots
You have to understand that there will still be water in the pipes even after youve turned off the main valve. To move this water away from your home, turn on spigots and open drains. Also, give the hose in your garden a few extra squirts to ensure that you clear out the water as well. If youre experiencing a small clog, open the drain using >
Avoid Using Chemicals on Pipes
Try not to use chemical cleaners in your pipes as it can make the situation worse. If youre experiencing a backed-up drain, avoid using a bottle of drain cleaner. Drain cleaners will erode the pipes, and if your home is older, this can cause lasting devastating effects. While these chemicals can usually wash away debris and dirt, they still cause significant problems. As an alternative, try using a plunger. If it still doesnt work out, its time to call an expert.
Handle Small Leaks
Small leaks are quite easy to identify. The best thing that you can do about it is to stop them as soon as possible. You can try stuffing rags and towels around the pipes. Also putting buckets under those dripping leaks can help as well. Let your plumber know about these leaks the moment they arrive so that they can be addressed in the safest order.
Call a Plumber
When youre facing a plumbing crisis, its essential to call a plumbing professional or a plumbing company. Doing so gives you peace of mind that your safety and the overall condition of your home is well-taken care. Call a plumbing company that offers 24-hour, emergency service. Try to give the plumber as much information as you can about what fixtures are affected and what you have done to fix or stop the problem.
1. Plan of Attack
Dont enter alone. And use the buddy systemmdash;if for no other reason than you may get overwhelmed and lost in your own sea of debris. Friends, family, and the kids can all lend a hand to get the job done quicker and to help keep you on track: its easy to get distracted rooting through the objects of your past.
The first goal of any garage organization is to create more floor space, so thats where you should begin as well. Get all the knick-knacks, the holiday decorations, and any other indoor->
2. Divide and Conquer
Give each helper a section to cover. This should help the garage organization run smoother. And dont be clingy. If you havent used something in over a year, or if you forgot it even existed, its time to say goodbye. Give your stuff to charities, thrift stores, or maybe even make a trip to the dump. Or, better yet, make a separate pile for a future garage sale, allowing you to reap all the awards of your excavation. However, dont procrastinate on this chore either. Its easy to say youll have a garage sale and not follow through so as to keep putting off the inevitable. Then, divide up the remaining possessions into categoriesmdash;sports items, seasonal deacute;cor, gardening tools, car maintenance, etc.mdash;to help with the next step.
3. Get Vertical
Once everything is cleaned and categorized, now its time to rearrange. The best way to store your things is to make use of your vertical space.
- Get a pegboard for your tools.
- Put up some shelves for boxes.
- Heavy-duty hooks are great for shovels and rakes.
- Buy a magnetic strip for stray metal items, such as steel rulers or chisels.
If you have bikes, skis, or ladders, put them overhead in the rafters or if you have a drywall ceiling, once again, heavy-duty hooks are great for hanging these heavy-duty items.
Remember that a garage is mainly used to store or work on your car or other vehicles so make sure you clear enough space to make this possible. Garage car lifts provide a great way for you to store a vehicle whilst still giving you floor space to move around in. You can get 2 post lifts which make it easy to work on your car and 4 post lifts which allow you to store 2 vehicles in one space.
Once you have as much as you can off the floor, its now time to find additional storage. The easiest answer to this dilemma is a garage organizer.
- A multiple tier shelving unit is great for storing paint or varnishes.
- A cabinetry system for miscellaneous items is always handy.
- Maybe buy several Rubbermaid baskets to hang on the wall to help separate the recycling.
- Buy a crank to roll up that hose.
- Use garbage ties or bungee cords to keep your extension cords in line.
Whatever the need, investing in some form of garage organizer helps to maintain the floor space youve just created.
5. Items Big and Small Dont forget the little things.
If you save glass baby-food jars, clear film canisters, or milk cartons to be cut in half, youll now be able to store smaller items, such as nails, screws, or tacks. If these small containers arent see through, they can also be easily labeled with masking tape. Another alternative garage organizer is an inexpensive tackle box to help contain the confusion. But what if its your bigger items that are getting in the way? What if its the necessary tools, such as snow blowers, lawn mowers, or edgers creating the clutter? Then consider building an extra shed in the backyard or a lean-to against the outside of the garage in order to produce additional square footage.
Donrsquo;t Let It Happen Again
The main thing to keep in mind is never let it get to this point again. If you take these steps, you should be able to keep up with your garage organization in the future. This is not to say that you wont have some occasional maintenancemdash;some sweeping, scrubbing, or washing. But by simply taking the time to arrange the space, at least youll no longer dread entering into it.
Defraying the cost of a mortgage is great, and, in some cases, taking in tenants can be lucrative, more than covering your entire payment and putting money in your pocket every month. But, inviting roommates into your home also comes with its share of potential downsides. Here are a few things you may want to weigh before you hand over the keys.
Say goodbye to your privacy
Having someone else in your home probably means you canrsquo;t walk around naked unless yoursquo;re in that type of thing. It also may mean there will be people making noise in the living room when you want peace and quiet or making a mess in the kitchen when you just want to make a sandwich.
About that messhellip;
Speaking of messes, how another person lives should be a consideration before you invite them to live in your home. Have you seen their current place? Did it lookhellip;normal?
If yoursquo;re a neat freak and your potential roommate like to leave behind items of clothing like breadcrumbs, you could have an Odd Couple situation. On the other hand, if yoursquo;re a little more casual about how you keep the house and your potential roommate likes things just so, you might end up feeling out of place in your own home.
Someone elsersquo;s romantic life
Arenrsquo;t you a little old to be living by the ldquo;sock on the doorrdquo; rule? Bringing in a roommate may mean compromising your privacy in even more egregious ways, or having to tiptoe around in order to avoid an uncomfortable run-in.
Ultimately, itrsquo;s your finances and credit at risk no matter who you invite into your home because itrsquo;s your name on the mortgage. If yoursquo;re taking in a roommate to help make your mortgage payment, you need to know you can depend on this person to pay his or her share. No matter how well you think you know this potential roommate, itrsquo;s imperative that you do a background check and check their credit. What you donrsquo;t know could hurt you.
Freddie Macs results of its Primary Mortgage Market Surveyreg; shows that "despite the recent rise in mortgage rates, both existing and new home sales continue to show strength ndash; indicating the lagged effect of lower rates on housing demand. This, along with improved affordability, should push housing activity higher in the coming months."
bull; 30-year fixed-rate mortgage FRM averaged 4.2 percent with an average 0.5 points for the week ending April 25, 2019, up from last month when it averaged 4.06 percent. A year ago, at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.58 percent.
bull; 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.64 percent with an average 0.5 points, up from last month when it also averaged 3.57 percent. A year ago, at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.02 percent.
bull; 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage ARM averaged 3.77 percent this week with an average 0.4 points, up from last month when it averaged 3.75 percent. A year ago, at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.74 percent.
Do you know the true costs of homeownership?
Yes, you have a handle on what your principal, interest, taxes, and insurance are going to cost. But have you factored in the other costs? Homeownerrsquo;s association fees, tolls, gas, and other commuter costs, landscaping help, and increased utility costs could all add to your monthly expenses and push the affordability factor out of reach.
Are you aware of closing costs?
Many first-time buyers arenrsquo;t prepared to pay thousands of dollars on top of their down payment. Getting an estimate upfront is key to making sure you have what you need to close.
Are you being realistic about home appreciation?
Homebuyers love to look at home appreciation over a period of time and then use those numbers to project how much their home value will increase in the next few years. Itrsquo;s human nature. But it can also be dangerous if yoursquo;re counting on that appreciation to move up or on in a few yearsrsquo; time.
Itrsquo;s important to remember that the real estate market is cyclical, and, while short-term gains are great, historical long-term gains also make real estate one of the safest and most successful investment strategies. ldquo;Housing was the worldrsquo;s best investment over the last 150 years,rdquo; said Quartz.
If your home does increase in value, what will you do with the equity?
Hope your answer wasnrsquo;t, ldquo;Go shoppingrdquo; or ldquo;Buy a new carrdquo; That kind of thinking can get you in troublemdash;in fact, it did get a lot of people in trouble during the last downturn. Responsible use of home equity is key to remaining financially stable. When you use your equity for things other than home improvement, yoursquo;re increasing your monthly costs but not your home value. Now it costs more to live in your home, and itrsquo;s at risk if you get in over your head and default on your loan.
Are you planning to run out and furnish every inch of the home right away?
Doing so could put you several thousand dollars in additional debt just as yoursquo;re transitioning to homeownership. Financial experts recommend easing into your new home and making sure the monthly output is what you expect and can manage before taking on too much additional debt.
Do you pay your bills on time?
There are those of us who like to pay bills right when we receive them and those of us who pay them when we get a notification that wersquo;re about to incur a late fee. Wersquo;ve been both of those people. If yoursquo;re not used tomdash;or fond of or good atmdash;managing your bills, you may find yourself with no water or electricity. Investopedia has some great tools to help you get more organized.
How good are you at facing your issues?
We can procrastinate with the best of lsquo;em and we have. We can put off fixing a problemmdash;personal, professional, or otherwise and we have. We can wait too long to take care of a little problem in the house and turn it into a big, huge, much more expensive problem and we have. Being a homeowner means stepping up when the house needs you. And it will need you at some point. Are you ready to make it a priority?
Would you rather take a bucket list vacation or fix up your kitchen?
A trip to the see the Northern Lights would be amazinghellip;but would it be better than being able to run your hands over your new Quartz countertops every day? You may need to make some hard decisions as a homeowner. Whether or not itrsquo;s worth depends on how important the goal of buying a home is.
Do you have a solid support system?
Sometimes you just need someone you can vent to, sometimes you need someone to come fix a smoke detector 20 feet up thatrsquo;s going off in the middle of the night. If yoursquo;re used to living at home, where parents take care of everything, or in an apartment where you can call the manager, the realization that this is all your responsibility now can be a shock to the system. There are a few things you can do to make sure yoursquo;re prepared for whatever comes your way:
bull; Mine Nextdoor ahead of time for resources plumber, electrician, garage door expert you can reach out to when needed
bull; Find a good handyman as soon as you move in
bull; Meet and exchange contact information with your neighbors
bull; Consider getting a home warranty, especially if your home is older and yoursquo;re concerned about the large expense of a new hot water heater or air conditioning unit