5 Tips for Real Estate Investing

 

If you’re just beginning to invest in real estate, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the fundamentals before getting your advanced degree. Here are 5 basic tips to get started investing in real estate.

1) Location matters

You may want to invest in the worst house on the best street because it gives you an opportunity to build equity. Invest some money to fix it up and sell it to someone else who wants a ready-to-move-in house in a fabulous location.

2) Wholesale properties

Avoid paying “full price” for properties. Instead, look for so-called wholesale properties that are offered at a steep discount. Sure, they’ll probably need some work. Run the numbers and see if the investment in rehab is worth the ultimate selling price.
You can easily invest $20,000 in a property and add twice that much to the selling price.

3) Tax Benefits

Uncle Sam offers significant tax benefits to real estate investors, including the depreciation write-off. When you buy an investment property that includes a building, you get to write off the depreciation of that building as a tax deduction.

Keep in mind that the IRS views your real estate investment efforts as a business so you also get to claim the “necessary and ordinary“ deductions that business owners take, including mortgage interest, insurance, and maintenance expenses. Remember to consult your tax advisor about specifics.

4) Check your credit score

Banks aren’t going to loan money to you for a property that’s not your primary residence as readily as they’ll loan it to you for your own home. That’s why your credit has to be spectacular. If you have problems on your credit report that are mistakes, get those resolved as quickly as possible.

5) The 1% rule

The 1% rule simply states that an income property must produce 1% of the price you pay for it every month. For example, if you’re looking at buying a property for $150,000, the monthly rental income should be 150,000 x 1% = $1,500.

Article courtesy of HuffingtonPost.com


8 Top Real Estate Mistakes

 

Get insider secrets to avoid costly blunders on the most important investment of your life.

SELLERS:

Failing to Showcase your Home
When you are selling your house, you have to look at it objectively from the viewpoint of the house hunter. Make minor enhancements to the house, perhaps hiring a professional stager to arrange your furniture. Staging is about decorating your house for the buyers’ taste, not yours. Home staging is designed to increase the potential selling price and reduce the amount of time the house stays on the market.

Setting a High Listing Price
To price your home, your agent will suggest a figure that is comparable to what the homes in your neighborhood have sold for, unless you have upgraded features. It’s always better to price a home this way rather than start too high and have to reduce. Once you reduce, people may think something is wrong with the home.

Doing Major Renovations Before Selling
Minor upgrades usually have a higher return on your money than tackling major renovations before placing a home on the market. The main reason? Huge construction projects always cost more than you think and take longer than expected.

Not Hiring an Agent
There’s a lot more to selling a house than just putting a sign on the front lawn. If you don’t have an agent, you will miss out on somebody negotiating on your behalf. It is really important to have someone on your side who understands all the complexities, paperwork, and legalities.

BUYERS

Buying What You Want–Not What You Need
Look at the space you already live in. It will help you realize what you have been missing and what you need in your next home. Make a list and ask your agent to start shopping based on those needs.

Overlooking Hidden Costs
Buying a home is not just about the money you spend up front. Find out what the property taxes are, what your water and other utilities might cost, possible HOA fees, insurance, and if you need to factor in furnishings or renovation costs.

Buying a Home Without an Inspection
A professional home inspection can reveal many things about a property that are not visible to the naked eye. Be sure to hire someone who comes with a good referral, who’s been in the business a while and knows what to look for. Once you find an inspector, make sure they compile a written report, complete with photos. Photographs are important because there are areas a home inspector will look at that you might not see.

Skipping the Loan Pre-Approval Process
When you are pre-approved, the bank is saying, “we will give you a mortgage of up to this amount, so now all you have to do is find your home.” Some sellers only allow real estate agents to show their house if someone has a pre-approved letter. That indicates that the shopper really is serious about buying a home.

Article courtesy of HGTV.com


10-Minute Tricks: Freshen Up your Home for Spring!

With spring fever comes a desire for a change in décor. Check out our top 7 quick, easy, and dollar-conscious ways to freshen up your living space before the flowers start to bud.


Rotate your Artwork

Are your walls cluttered with stagnant artwork? If so, it’s time for a change. Some people hang everything they own on every wall. Look at it all the time, and you start taking it for granted. Try this: Separate art into summer and winter piles. Hang the lighter, pastel colors for spring and summer, and put the darker oil paintings in storage. Every six months, rotate your pieces. This way, you enjoy your art with a new vigor, and it’s something you can do in minutes.

Natural Scents

Spring is not only a colorful season, but a fragrant one, so bring the aroma indoors. Scents have a profound effect on mood. Infuse aromas into your décor with essential oils, natural candles, fresh cut flowers, or incense to change the overall feeling of a space. A quick, floral tip: Purchase an inexpensive bouquet of flowers, split them up by color, and place the bunches in small vases around your home.

Buy New Bulbs

You’re thinking flower bulbs, right? Not a bad idea, but we’re talking about light bulbs. Many of us aren’t using our lights properly­—in the winter you need more light, but in the spring you can get away with less. Swap your 60-watt bulb with a 3-way bulb to allow you to soften a room’s light.

Let the Sunshine In

In the winter, dirty windows can go unnoticed. On the first day of spring, take advantage of the sunny season by giving the windows a wash. You can have a gorgeous room, but if the windows are dirty, it won’t look as beautiful or as bright. As an added tip, pull back dark window treatments and add a shade or valance for a touch of color. Or, you can also replace window treatments with ecru or white sheers for an elegant look.

Update Accessories

Just as you’d add a scarf or necklace to enhance an outfit, do the same with your home—dress your home like you would yourself. Look for great accent pillows in bright colors. Put away the winter throws and drape light, bright throws on your sofa. Pick out spring-hued vases or candles to boost a cocktail or dining room table.

Beautify your Boudoir

Bright, new bedding can do wonders for your personal space. Tuck away the heavy, winter flannel comforter and pull out crisp linens with coverlets for color. Bring in the spring with floral-designed spreads or colorful solids. Don’t forget accent pillows for added style and comfort.

Lose the Magnets

In just minutes, you can tidy up a kitchen by getting rid of the scraps of paper, business cards and take-out menus stuck to the fridge. If you have odds and ends everywhere, it looks messy. If you clear it, your kitchen looks and feels organized.

Article courtesy of HGTV.com


Sell your Home for More Money

Drastically increase the amount of money you make on the sale of your home with these eight easy tips.

1) Price it below market value.
List your home below the current market value; maybe even as much as 5-10%. As a homeowner, you may be reluctant to try this approach, but the results may surprise you. This can be highly effective, create a sense of urgency and drive in even more offers and buyers than you ever imagined.

2) Brighten up the bedroom.
Bring in as much natural light into the room as possible. If you can’t remember the last time you cleaned the windows in your house, now is the time–inside and out! Replace any burnt out light bulbs and bring in an extra lamp or two.

3) Clean out the closets.
Open up the closet doors, pull everything out, and get rid of 50% of the clutter. If winter has passed, pack away all of your winter clothes. When a buyer opens up the closet doors, they see the available closet space, and not an unorganized, overstocked storage area.

4) Paint the front door.
Don’t let an old, weathered door be a buyer’s focal point. Painting the front door can make a home feel more welcoming. By carefully choosing the right color, you can unexpectedly make your house stand out from the rest.

5) Enhance the landscaping.
To help give your home a boost in curb appeal, spruce up the landscaping around the front of your home. By carefully planning and doing your homework, you can achieve a nice upgrade on a small budget.

6) Stain the deck and driveway.
Staining your deck and driveway is a cost effective way to prolong the life of an area that takes a beating from the weather and heavy foot traffic. It will let the buyer know your home is properly maintained.

7) Paint the walls a neutral color.
Don’t let the color of your walls be the focal point of a room. It will be easier for a buyer to relate to a neutral wall color, and they won’t be distracted by a room that is bold or too loud.

8) Make kitchen improvements.
Kitchen improvements can yield high returns if done properly. Popular upgrades include resurfacing or replacing kitchen cabinets, adding a new backsplash, or replacing outdated countertops.

Article courtesy of garrettsrealty.com


Top Interior Design Trends for 2016

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The modern home is always evolving. And to get an idea of what it’s evolving to, look no further than what’s happening within its walls today. Here are 10 of the top design trends for 2016.

1) Two-tone kitchen cabinets. Keep upper cabinets white or neutral for a clean, timeless feel, then go crazy with the lower cabinets by playing with various wood tones and deeper colors to take your kitchen in two different style directions.

2) Living rooms that ditch the tech for family. With so much screen time throughout the day and night, homeowners are looking for a calm respite where they can read a book, chat with friends and family or just sit quietly. Thus, the rise of living rooms devoid of digital distraction.

3) Niche appliances. Looking for a little added luxury in the kitchen? Steam ovens (shown here) promise to cook food more thoroughly and healthily than microwaves; warming drawers give cooks a little wiggle room to deliver hot meals to family and guests; induction cooktops save space and are safer for homes with young kids; and kimchi refrigerators offer fans of the popular Korean condiment a chance to make their own at home.

4) Bidets. The separate bidet unit in bathrooms never really took off in America. But since manufacturers began creating combination bidet and toilet units, like the Toto version shown here, they’ve been catching on. According to Houzz data, 5 percent of renovated master bathrooms now include bidets.

5) Heated entryway floors. Sure, heated floors are popular in bathrooms, but if you live in a cold region, consider putting them in your entryway to help melt snow and dry boots.

3d rendering of the modern bathroom6) Statement mirrors in bathrooms. So long, medicine cabinets. Hello, statement mirrors. Think large wood-framed beauties, backlit modern marvels and ornate vintage gems that boost style in a bathroom.

7) Bathrooms that feel more like living spaces. Graphic wallpaper, ornate chandeliers and furniture-like pieces turn sterile spaces into ones that feel a lot more like home.

8) Fireplaces and fire features. New advances mean you can have all the ambiance without the smell, pollution or hassle of traditional wood-burning fireplaces. Plus, fireplaces are making a comeback as living room focal points in lieu of the dark void of a TV screen.

9) Farmhouse entryways. Stripping away the need for fancy flourishes or decor for decor’s sake, farmhouse style gets at the root of function. That’s why the style makes sense for mudrooms, where simplicity in storage and durability in materials are paramount.

StainlessSteel10) Colored stainless steel appliances. Black stainless steel is making a buzz on Houzz. In a poll, nearly two-thirds of Houzzers say they would consider the dark alternative to shiny silver metal. (Shown here is LG’s new Black Stainless collection.) Not into the darkness? Head to the light with Whirlpool’s Sunset Bronze finish.

Article courtesy of Houzz.com.


Appeal to Male Buyers: Enticing Staging Tips

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Professional stagers consult with homeowners to sell their homes quickly and for the most money possible. They consider buying psychology, design elements and lighting. Often lost in the process, however, is the fact that those with masculine tastes are also involved in the buying decision.

Learn how to make your home universally appealing to buyers with both feminine and masculine design preferences, and increase the odds of making a sale.

Personal space: Real estate agents report that the average male tends to gravitate towards rooms with gadgets and electronics. They often appreciate open spaces and high ceilings—clean, streamlined rooms that one can easily walk through without obstructions.

Cater to interests: Masculine doesn’t mean fancy or frilly. Think about enhancing niches to watch the big game with buddies or relax after work. Modern Home Theater Room Interior with Flat Screen TV angled perspective view

Simplified color scheme: Don’t overwhelm any potential buyer with wild colors or furniture, even if you feel it makes your home special. Warm interior tones are generally preferred over cool tones.

The yard: A lawn that is well-maintained can really help boost your home’s appeal along with thick, healthy grass, minimal bushes to trim and easy-to-maintain flower beds.

GarageWorkBenchToolsGarage envy: Think about painted walls, clean floors and enough storage for various hobbies. A built-in workbench, organized shelving as well as clean, spacious areas for tools, equipment and maintenance supplies are a great draw.

Staging your home to visually appeal to men as well as women will ensure a better joint response from potential buyers.


Staging with Feng Shui: Boost your Home’s Natural Energy Flow

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Feng shui experts are the first to admit that its practices, alone, won’t sell your house. First, you want to have the right price, the right agent and the right marketing plan. Once you have that, try starting with these 5 feng shui techniques, to amp up your chances of a sale.

 

Arrange Rooms to Welcome Visitors
Modern dining room with colored decoration and plants on the sidesEver walk into a party where all the guests have their backs to you? That’s what it’s like when you walk into a room and all you can see is the back of the furniture.
Solution: Create more intimacy by turning the furniture so that it faces the entry ways.
Another problem? Chairs that are isolated and set down as one-offs. Group chairs in pairs to encourage conversation, placing them diagonally with a small table inbetween.

Create Good Traffic Flow
Good traffic flow isn’t just for parties. Buyers want that in their everyday lives, too—rounding a corner and almost running into a chair is a big no-no.
The rule: You don’t want anything that’s going to keep people from feeling that they can move through an area. Evaluate a room to create easy-to-navigate, open pathways. Make potential buyers feel comfortable, not cramped.

Watch Subliminal Messages
Create a bedroom atmosphere that’s calm, restful and restorative—don’t place a painting over the bed of a three-ring circus, which evokes chaotic energy. Nature scenes, on the other hand, are soothing and will relax buyers.

Make sure to also put away those personal family photos and religious icons. Don’t let your spiritual preferences, sway buyers in any way.

tranquil scene for relaxing beautyCreate Prosperity with Moving Water
Feng shui philosophy advocates shutting toilet lids, as water represents money, and this is the place where water/money escapes. To increase water flow and therefore money, place a small water fountain either at the home’s entrance or in the back left corner of the home, your “wealth” corner. Moving water will circulate prosperity energy throughout the home.

Be Ready to Let Go
If the house isn’t moving, it could be a red flag that you, or other family members, don’t really want to move. If you’re set on leaving, find a way of saying goodbye.

Pile of brown cardboard boxes with house or office goods. Different stuff packed in carton boxes. Moving concept. Set of cargo boxes with yellow sticker labels ready for transportation and unpackingSome strategies:
• Walk room by room through the house and mentally say “thank you” for the good, and bad, times you had there.
• Picture yourself holding the house, presenting it as a gift to the next owner.
• Start packing. It starts moving the energy and releases your hold on the house.

Article courtesy of BankRate.com


Spring Staging Tips for Home Sellers

Screen shot 2015-03-16 at 8.55.30 AMSpringtime   brings   sunshine,   showers – and   plenty of opportunities for home staging. Make the most of the season with these fresh updates that are sure to attract buyers.
Tip 1

Whip your yard into shape. When you’re selling in the spring, you need to get your yard in shape as quickly as possible. Clear winter yard debris, and get frost-resistant plants that won’t be affected if a late cold spell hits.

Tip 2

Box up your winter wardrobe. Bulky winter clothes take up lots of space, so move them out as you de-clutter your closets. You’ll impress buyers with all that closet space.

Tip 3

Spruce up the entryway. If your welcome mat is covered with winter dirt, pick up a new one. A clean, pretty doorway will help set the tone for the entire showing.

Tip 4

Bring spring aromas indoors. Spring is not only a colorful season, but a fragrant one. Bring the aroma indoors. Scents have a profound effect on mood, so infusing scent into your decor with diffusers, candles, fresh cut flowers, or incense can change the overall feeling of a space.

Tip 5

Bring out the bright colors. Tuck away the heavy, winter flannel comforter and pull out crisp linens with coverlets for color. Bring in the spring with floral-designed spreads or colorful solids. Don’t forget accent pillows for added style and comfort.

Start your Spring Garden Today!
Screen shot 2015-03-16 at 9.03.05 AMVeggie Seeds to Start Now

March is the perfect time to start planning your veggie garden. Cool weather vegetables can be planted now like arugula, broad beans, collards, corn salad, kale, peas, radishes and spinach. For April, in addition to the March list, you can also plant beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots (unless we are having a colder/wetter spring) fennel, green onions, kohlrabi, lettuce, onions, parsnips, swiss chard and turnips.

Borders and Flower Gardens

March is the month to feed your garden. Trees, shrubs, hedges, roses, perennials, vines, and small fruits can all be fertilized now. Plant winter hardy flowers like lilies and hostas after March 1 and non-winter hardy types like dahlias and glads after April 1.

For planting new trees, shrubs, roses, perennials, pansies, small fruits and hardy herbs use peat moss or your own compost when planting and don’t forget to water new transplants frequently.

Persistent Weeds

To successfully control the weeds in your garden, learn to recognize them when they’re young. Cultivate (disturbing the soil through digging) around the weed’s roots using a hoe or garden tiller. If your weeds have already blossomed, it’s best to hand pull. After the weeds are clear, it’s good to lay black plastic over the soil in your vegetable garden prior to planting and apply mulch to reduce new weed growth.

 

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