The RE/MAX Associates Louisville Real Estate Blog

5 Ways to Deal with the Neighborhood Eye Sore

You are moments away from finally putting your beautiful home on the market, and then it hits you; the eye sore next door is going to create quite a problem. There are people who will try to hide and cover up these eyesores, trying to fool prospective buyers, but in the end, without proper attention the eyesores still remain.

You can always embrace the eye sore and view it as a prairie instead of a lawn, but for those of us who nearly go blind looking at them, here are a few ways to fix this problem.

  1. Ask the neighbor to fix the issue

This is no easy task. How do you tell your neighbor their yard looks like crap and it’s hindering your ability to sell your home?  One way is to write a friendly note and leave it with a bottle of wine or case of beer. When doing this make sure to mention the more your home sells for, the more their home is worth.

  1. Be neighborly

Some people live a certain way for so long they don’t notice what might look ugly to others.  This often happens with the elderly because they don’t notice, or don’t have the means to keep up with the maintenance of their homes. Just do not recommend a townhome or condo. It’s kind of offensive in a way.

You might try asking them if you can spruce it up yourself. Hopefully they’re not hoarders who want to keep the weeds growing out of the sidewalk. You will be surprised how often people like being helped. So try asking them to fix the wobbly fence, or the rotting paint around their house. Chances are they would be glad to have you help them work on it.  

  1. Notify your HOA

If you live in a HOA, write them and make sure they are aware of the unkempt house nearby. One of the main reasons HOA’s exist is to prevent this from happening. They are there to prevent eye sores from popping up and devaluing your home.

The HOA will send the offending neighbor a letter requesting...

Be Weary of Mortgage Acceleration Scams

If you’ve got a mortgage and are trying to pay it down as quickly as possible, then you’ve probably heard of mortgage accelerators. These are designed to help you pay off your mortgage in less time than it would normally take you. It helps you save money long-term on interest payments.

There’s obviously motivation to shorten the length of your mortgage, but there is great reason to be extra cautious when dealing with one of these companies. Sometimes they are too good to be true.

 How do mortgage accelerators work?

Both kinds of mortgage accelerators are designed to assist you to budget your finances.

One of the kinds of mortgage accelerators asks the borrower to send the accelerator company money, and this company will send checks biweekly to your mortgage lender. Usually this product has an initiation fee of around roughly $300, as well as a low monthly fee, which is less than $10. Biweekly payments help you tackle your mortgage debt quickly, but this isn’t sometime you can’t do on your own.

The second type of accelerator deposits your paychecks into a specific account and acts as a line of credit. As the months go by, your payments draw against this balance, and whatever is left at the end of the month goes towards your mortgage.

Here’s the deal though: a good number of these accelerator companies have very high upfront costs for the software, which is used to manage your cash flow. While having to pay interest against the line of credit whenever you draw against it, if you use this to pay down your mortgage, chances are you are paying more in interest to this company than you would the actual interest for the mortgage itself.

Instead of paying for a service to help you budget from one loan to the next, you can find the same help through different budgeting tricks. You can design a whole new plan on your own that won’t cost...

13 Ways to Not Get Screwed by Your Contractor, pt. 2

This is the second part of yesterday’s “13 Ways to Not Get Screwed by Your Contractor” post. We have talked about the best way to find a contractor, how to do your bidding, choosing the right one for the job, knowing their background and skills. We are picking up at number 8:

8. Ask for references, and call them

Ask for their references, and if it takes forever (which it might) then that’s a red flag. There is probably reason for it.

9. Check out the work

Ask if you can go see a couple projects he/she might be working on now. Any good contractor will be happy to show off his work.  They should also have some before-and-after pictures of their best work.

                10. Where is their headquarters

It is ideal to have contractors who live nearby. This will generally get them to be there each day, and be on time.

                11. Experience counts

Go only for the contractors who have been in business at least five years, and who have had the same name. There might be a company who has a bad reputation for faulty work, and decided to rebrand itself as a new company to escape the negative image.

                12. Insurance

It will be worth your time to ask about the general liability and workman’s comp certificates from each contractor you interview. Give the insurance companies a call to make sure their coverage is current.

                13. If the city permits

Stop by the city building department and see if your contractor has any complaints on them. It’s a little extra work, but it will give you the peace of mind you need to sleep soundly.

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13 Ways to Not Get Screwed By Your Contractor

Summer is the season most families begin tackling their home renovation projects. Americans spend a total of $130 billion on home renovations each year and is expected to keep rising, according to the U.S. Census data. Upgrading their kitchens and master baths are the typical remodels, but no matter the project it is important to be working with a reliable contactor. Here is the first of two parts about how to not get burned by a bad contactor.

 

  1. Third time’s a charm

Be sure to interview and find references for at least three different contractors. Don’t pick one because you like his company name or because he’s friends with your sister. Angie’s List is an excellent resource to find quality contractors.

  1. Compare oranges to oranges

Being consistent when asking contractors for a bid is key. Don’t add little projects to each’s bid because it can get confusing. Stay with a consistent workload for each contractor. This way you will find the true price and not have to remember if you asked contractor A to do a little more than contractor B.

  1. Callback turnaround

If you do not hear back from a contractor within 48 hours let them go! The contractor you want is responsive, eager to get to work, and driven. Without hearing back from them you should assume they’ll be this unreliable throughout the length of the project.  Make a time for in person interviews, and if they don’t show, take them off your list.

  1. Know their specialties

 

Find out what their specialties are, whether it’s kitchen renovations, commercial buildings, new construction, or whatever it may be. You want your contractor’s expertise to align with the job at hand.

 

  1. Get the skinny on the crew

 

How many people work under this contractor? Is it just a single contractor, or do they have a...

Blogging for Us Left-Handed People

Is everything in your home made for a right-handed person? If you or one of your family members is left-handed cut them a break, and make it a little homier by adding a couple left-handed makeovers to the house.

Nine out of every 10 people is right-handed so it only makes sense that homes are made for right-handed people. Despite this statistic, there are still south [paws in the world.

Household appliances can be adapted to each’s comfort from fridges to faucets. Typically the engineers build for right-handed people, but here are ten ways to fix it up for those of us who are left-handed.

 

  1. Left-handed doors – All depending on the layout of your home, left-handed doors might not be much of an option, but if it can fit with your furniture and layout, this is one easy way. The best way to tell if a door is left-handed by opening it, putting your back to the hinges. And if it is to the left, we have a left-handed door.
  2. Left-handed sliding glass patio door – Sliding doors always slide in the direction of your dominant hand. A left-handed door slides open to the left, and vice versa. In order to make this change, you’ll have to buy it, or be the world’s best DIYer.
  3. Cabinet doors in kitchen – We use our dominant hands when going to grab cereal, cabinet doors, and items in the oven. Consider this when ordering your next cabinets; it will have a much smoother feel.
  4. Sink – a left-handed sink is where the drainer is on the right. If you cannot afford a left-handed sink, there are a few things you can do. If your dishwasher is on the left, there’s a start. You can place the drying rack to the left as well. And on the left is the ideal spot for paper towels and soaps.
  5. Kitchen accessories – Get yourself a pair of left-handed kitchen tools. What you will need is a left measuring cup, and can opener.
  6. Side tables - Putting your accent table on the left side of the...

Newly Weds Big Decision: Big Wedding or House?

Today's newly wed couples are faced with a big decision. Do they have a super awesome, and expensive wedding? Or do they get a house?
Whether you choose to have an elaborate celebration, or an intimate soiree, planning your wedding requires making a lot of adult decisions. These can often be quite expensive decisions too.
It all depends on the couple; some want an over-the-top day to remember forever, while some just want to live in a nice little start house for the first couple years.
Think of it like this. Two newly wed couples are gifted with $70,000. Couple A chooses to have a $60,000 wedding and can only put $10,000 towards their down payment.Yes, their wedding was awesome, but it was only one day of the rest of their lives they will never get back.
Couple B has elected to have a $6,000 wedding, leaving them with $64,000 to put towards a house. Not only are they that much closer to owning their house, but they still had a great time at their wedding,.
Often times Bridezillas want all the bells and whistles for their weddings, but they aren't thinking about the long-run, they're only thinking about the present.
Unless you come from, or are marrying into a ton of money, the choice is clear to me, but I digress.
Do what makes you happy, but be sure you have the means to do it. And most of all, be smart with whatever you do.
Good luck!
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3 Strategic Moves for Competitive Home Buyers

As a home buyer there are actions you can take which can put you ahead of all the other buyers. It’s a competitive market, and depending how bad you want that house, you must play it smart. If you’ve been in the hunt for a couple months and have submitted multiple offers without any bite, it’s time to step your game up. The goal is to actually purchase the home you’ve been after, despite all the fun and learning experience you’ve had in the process.

When you know you’ve found your dream house, it’s time to buckle down and get serious. Getting serious means you will be uncomfortable through this ride, as well as nervous, and financially exhausted. As gloomy as this may look, take note that this is part of the course, and it will be all worth it in the end. To make it a bit easier for you, here are three strategies to give you the upper hand over other buyers.

Find out what’s important to the seller and give it to them

The seller has what you are after, so you need to figure out what it is they’re after, and deliver it on a silver platter to them.  Ask your agent what their story is, why are they selling? Are they staying in the neighborhood, or going out of town? Once you know some of their background, put yourself in their shoes and imagine what you would want.

For example, if you somehow find out they are in contract to buy a home, try tempting them with a clean sale to get it over with. Have your inspections, and appraisals completed in a week, and do away with your contingencies so the seller knows this can be a sure deal with you.

If they are trying to find a new place to live before they sell, try “renting back” after the closing. This will let them stay in the home while their money is in the bank, their debt is relieved, and they don’t feel the pressure to move out immediately.

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What to do When the Appraisal is Less Than What's Offered

If you appraisal was way lower than you expected, don’t worry. This can happen for a multitude of reasons, and it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. Yes it is a defeating feeling when you finally find your dream home, get an offer accepted, and then, the house doesn’t appraise for the agreed-upon price.

It can infuriate you when the deal falls apart because of the appraisal, but just relax. This happens more than anyone likes to admit, but sometimes corners are cut to make the deal happen.

If the appraisal is less than your offering, you will probably need to come up with more cash, but this isn’t your only option.

Look over the appraisal contingency clause: Most appraisals have built in contingency clauses, meaning you can look at the situation and possibly renegotiate. I am not saying this will save the deal, but it’s very possible you could spend more money than planned or even walk away from it all.

Sometimes it’s necessary that all parties need to stick together and find a mutual deal. Sellers might need to come down on their price; you pay the closing costs, and agents lose a little commission, but the deal will still go through.

Get a second opinion: Maybe the appraisal needs a second opinion and needs to be redone. The appraiser should review your appeal, and counter by explaining why they didn’t use comparable sales that the lender sent. Sometimes the seller will pay for the second appraisal to keep the deal alive. The lender might even be willing to pay for the second appraisal.

In order to avoid a low appraisal, make sure you tell the appraiser why you made the offer you did. This is where the agent should meet the appraiser and show them comparable sales and listings.  

Try not to pay more than the appraised value: Do not get emotionally attached to this house even if it is your dream home. Distance yourself incase this falls through leaving you hurt and sore. Don’t pay more...

5 Ways to Spot Sloppy Work When Buying a Flipped House

Buying a newly renovated and flipped house can be one of the best things you ever do, but be sure to do your homework. If you watch HGTV, buying these houses is almost a norm, and it looks so easy; real life isn’t like this.

What most fail to realize is flippers goal is to unload their property as quickly, and inexpensive, as possible. Often times there are shortcuts involved, which can lead to problems down the road. Here are give ways to make sure your flip doesn’t end up a flop.

  1. Suss out the sellers

Flipping homes is a profession, so there are people out there who do this all day, most every day. There will be a bunch of buyers can attest to the work they’ve done. Find out their names and check on their experience. If you don’t know your seller, you can go right to the county’s assessor’s office to find out the name on the deed. A little light internet researching should finish the rest. If they do happen to have a good amount of experience, a local real estate agent or home inspector will probably know them, and then will tell you the quality of their work.

  1. Do you due diligence

Everyone knows you should have your prospective home inspected before buying it. This is exponentially true when buying a flip house. If anything appears as a potential problem, hire an inspector in that particular area, whether it be mold, termites, pests, lead, or cracked floors.

  1. Find out when it was built

Knowing how old the house is tells you the odds of structural work. If it is older than 75 years or older, it probably has had at least one foundation repair. If it has not had a foundation repair then get a structural engineer in there to inspect it right away. If the home is newer and built in the 80’s and later, it most likely has had walls removed to fit the “open” concept.  Since knocking walls down was probably happening at some point, you’ll want to...

Update - Mortgage Rates

We have an update for the mortgage rates! 30-year fixed rate mortgage rates rose last week to 3.79 percent. This is up 2 basis points from last week. In the middle of the week last week the rate fell on Thursday and gently moved around 3.78 percent.

Erin Lantz, Vice President of mortgages at Zillow, had this to say about the increase, “Despite some volatility early on as markets parsed typically unimportant data for signals of the Fed’s first rate hike, mortgage rates remained flat with lenders focused on the Memorial Day holiday.”

For the 15-yaer fixed mortgage rate was 2.96 percent, and for 5/1 ARMs, their rate was 2.91 percent.

Stayed tune for the next update.

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Housing for Military Families Less Affordable than for Civilians

In San Diego, military families who choose to move off base pay up to 65 percent of their salary on their mortgage, and up to 60 percent for rent. It always costs more to live off base, even after their, “Basic Allowance for Housing.” It isn’t uncommon for landlords to be other military families, who know how much the basic BAH is for various ranks.

These families don’t have the choice of settling down in one spot for a long period of time because they know they’ll only be there a couple years. Because of this they do not get to redecorate, or make any major improvements. It just isn’t a smart move financially.

Nationally, service members generally pay up to 32 percent of their income on their housing, which is double what civilians’ pay. This is for all military members combined, and who do not live on base.

Renting is even more expensive for them. Up to 42 percent is paid in rent, compared with the 30 percent for civilians.

US Average – 15.3%

Air Force – 30.4%

Army – 29%

Navy – 34.6%

Coast Guard – 33%

Marines – 36%

 Of course this all depends on where they’re based. While soldiers in San Diego expect to pay 65.5 percent, soldiers in Fort Hood, Texas pay just 15.1 percent on a mortgage and 29.1 percent for rent. This stands more in line with the national for civilians.  

 Think about these statistics during the week and remember what all these homeland heroes give up for you. Not only on the battlefield do they sacrifice, but their personal lives do as well. Thank a hero in uniform next time you see one.

 God Bless America!

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Treating Your Summer Garden With Water Features

Thinking about putting some elegant fountain in your backyard, or a pond to give it a little life back there? Water features are always classy and aesthetically pleasing to the eye when you find the right one.

“Do we have room”, is usually the first question asked. The answer is probably yes since this doesn’t require acres of land. You don’t need the biggest or loudest fountain. Water features come in all shapes and sizes. They really aren’t hard to find, you just don’t notice them when you’re out. One unlikely spot is your local plant nursery. Every property looks better with a pond, but do you have to have one? No.

Keep in mind fountains can be expensive to maintain. For a larger scale example, Louisville’s waterfalls fountain was erected in 1988 but was only in operation for ten years. To thrust its 400+ foot jet of water into the air was quite expensive each time.

The Pant water Features

This feature is relatively popular, simple, easy to construct, and useable in almost any garden. How it was is there is a small pump at the bottom, and it sips water from the tray and pumps it back up to the top so it can trickle back down again.

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6 Signs Your Real estate Agent Is Secretly a Fairy Godparent

If your real estate agent can somehow make problems disappear, then you know you have the right agent. In the real estate world, there are agents who are great, and agents who are not-so-great. For the great ones who can make your problems disappear, you wonder how they did it with just a snap of their fingers.

If you suspect something smells funny, here are the signs your agent might be a fairy godparent.

  1. They can cast a spell

Negotiating is a form of art, and the negotiator is the artist. If your agent does more than just talk, speaking in magic tongues, count yourself the lucky one. Even the most seemingly hopeless real estate agent can be saved by the gift of gab. They are able to make everyone a winner, leading the conversation along just as they planned.

  1. They have a bag of magic tricks

Superstar agents spend their time with other superstar agents. When buying a house, the inspection is a vital part. Some agents work solely with veteran inspectors who have infared cameras (no lie). This camera is a game changer for multiple reasons. It can read the difference in temperature, telling which parts of a room have moisture and insulation issues. A room with a fresh layer of paint appears perfect on the surface, but could potentially be holding issues underneath. So now you are left with a choice, walk away, or request your agent cast their spell.

  1. They have secret skills

Maybe you get lucky and have an agent who is also an interior decorator. If they are a superstar they will rearrange your for-sale home, leaving it much better than before. They will know the perfect color for your wall, matching it to your furniture. If they choose to help you out (they should), all their effort will be done timely, and without much effort at all.

  1. They can make things vanish and appear             

 A superstar agent has seen...

4 Loans That Affect Your Mortgage-Worthiness

There are different types of debt available to you so that one day you can boost your credit score. Don’t be fooled by the system that is always telling you to borrow, being in debt is never a good thing and it can actually hurt you if you over-borrow.

Searching for a new mortgage is something every homeowner must do (except the stupid rich ones) and your credit score matters here. It can make or break the mortgage approval, and even determine which if you get the house you want.

There are two types of debt: secured and unsecured. When borrowing money from a bank to buy a house, the bank has the option of taking back the house if you default. This is a secured debt. It is balanced against a tangible object as a security measure. Unsecured debt is something the bank cannot get their hands on in case you default on your payments. An example of unsecured debt is student loans and credit card debt.

Let’s take a look at the four key consumer loans that make our lives hell. These will be a mix of secured and unsecured debt on your credit score – and ultimately your mortgage worthiness.

Student Loans

Student loans are unsecured debt. These aren’t a bad mark for your credit score if you pay your bills on time. Because they take decades to repay, these can actually help your credit score. Loans that take a many years to pay off have the possibility to boost your credit score. These can be figured into your debt-to-income ratio, so they might affect your ability to afford a mortgage.

Auto Loans

Auto loans are secured debt because the lender can reclaim the car if you default on your payments. This type of debt has the possibility of raising your debt score by diversifying the type f debt you carry. Since auto loans are more difficult to get than credit cards, some lenders might see this as a good sign. They will see you...

Smart Furniture to Make the Most of Your Space

In recent years there has been an upswing in the popularity of small space living, especially in the metropolitan cities, which is the result of the higher cost of housing. Even if you are one of those living in small quarters, it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice functionality, and comfort in your home.

Here are a few tips to help you maximize the space in your home.

Room Dividers

If you live in an extremely small place like a studio apartment, you should use a room divider to increase the functionality of the living space. The most optimal way of sectioning a living space is to use a room divider that also doubles as a storage space. Example, you could use a bookshelf to separate the room while also helping to take clutter in the home.

Vertical Storage

One place to always find extra storage is above everything else and along the walls. Look above the kitchen cabinets or doors to check for a space that could hold a few extra shelves. You might find some wasted space in your closet, which is the prime example for potential extra storage space. Don’t overlook the high sports on walls to install wall hooks where you can hang shelves or other suspendable storage solutions.

Concealing Solutions

Small spaces appear smaller when you can see everything. To counter this, you can opt for concealing solutions such as other curtains or textiles, which can be mad to hang over shelving or across doorways. Boxes and baskets are also a viable way to hide loose objects. Some furniture comes smart, meaning it comes with built-in hiding features.

Double-duty Solutions

To help your home feel larger, try fitting multiple functions in one room in your home. For example, you can place an office desk in your dining room. This way it has multiple functions depending on the time of day. You can also have the space under the stairs as a big storage spot. Lastly, you can turn the walls in your kitchen into shelves like...

3 Tips for Evaluating Multiple Offers

Selling your home is a process, sometimes an unpleasant one, but sometimes it can be fun. Usually it’s only fun when you get a slew of interested buyers waiting to make you an offer. Figuring out which offer to accept is of utmost importance, and which one will go through is crucial.

The sellers dream is receiving as many offers as they can handle as quickly as possible. Once multiple offers start coming in, brace yourself, there will be a ton to look over. This is when you know you’ve staged your home to the best of its ability and priced it correctly. Having multiple offers will be stressful, because which offer should you accept? Here are some tips to decide which offer.

 

Identify the best buyer and work with them to make a deal

When I say “best buyer” I mean the person(s) that have been to the house multiple times, and has made themselves known to you and your agent. Do not confuse this with the person who placed the highest bid. If the best buyer was the highest bidder, there’s a chance you could be caught in a bidding war, or they get cold feet and walk away after an inspection.

This best buyer is the one who is working with a local agent, and has been pre-approved with a mortgage, and has been in the market for some time. A quality listing agent will be quick to point out who is the best buyer. The buyer who is committed to a home and wants to close is the buyer for you. The second you accept an offer or sign a contract, the work begins.

 

Use the terms of a lower-priced offer with your best buyer

If you have a couple offers, they might run the gamut for over-asking to lowballing you. Try not to take offense to any offer, because every offer you get, the more times you will have to figure out a counteroffer.

If your agent can contact the buyer’s agent and say they’ve received five offers, it will make the top two buyers want it even more! If you price is low, and...

How to Avoid Those 'Gotcha' HOA Scenarios

If you are looking to buy a home in an area that as community amenities, swimming pool, tennis courts, hiking trails, etc. you will be paying for them whether you use them or not. If you handle this area correctly, HOAs can preserve the value of your home. On the other hand, dealing with them can be a difficult task in itself. Here are six ways to avoid these pitfalls.

It all depends on the family, but love-hate relationships are common with their HOA. There can be benefits as well as negatives as well. Make sure you know how to make the HOA work for you, or else avoid buying into a neighborhood that has one.

Here are some possible “gotcha” moments you should consider when selling or buying a home with an HOA.

  1. 1.       An investor’s “gotcha”: Renting is against HOA rules

 Some neighborhoods limit the amount of homes that can be rented out, while they expect the houses to be used by families and kept up with. When you are dealing with an HOA neighborhood, make sure there are no restrictions on how many homes can be rentals.

If you do choose to buy a property in an HOA neighborhood, be sure to find out what covenants, conditions, and restrictions they have. If the HOA doesn’t allow rentals in the property you bought and intend to rent, you could be up the creek without a paddle.

 2.       The lender “gotcha”: The HOA has financial difficulties

If you are trying to sell your property, you should know if the HOA is solvent. It may not have enough cash reserves to cover common-area repairs and upkeep, and then the lender won’t approve of a new mortgage.

Know if there is an ongoing litigation, because if there is, getting a lender to approve a loan will be quite difficult. Also ask if they have adequate insurance. Most lenders won’t approve a loan unless the HOA has enough liability...

How to Handle Snide Remarks About Your Home

There’s little that is less defeating than hearing snide comments or criticisms against your home, the one you are trying to sell. But the best revenge against it is to use their feedback to make your home irresistible for the next open house.

It is never a comforting feeling to put your home up for sale and then have a parade of strangers waltz through offering your home up for brutal criticisms. They will probably even attack your taste of décor and your tidiness of your closets.

Some comments are directed to pierce the heart, while others are backhanded compliments. Some people might say, “I wish I could care less about cleaning like these people”, or “This place could be great with a little more effort put into it.” While the best one, “How quaint” is just like saying “bless his/her heart.”

To emotionally distance yourself from your home will help, but let’s figure out a way to constructively use this feedback. Let’s use it to motivate you to sell your home at the best price.

View the comment pragmatically

Leave your emotions at the door and find the comments that could help sell your home. When a neighbor recommends using bold colors, but insists on playing it safe, this is something you want to listen to. Potential buyers might have the same reaction. Remember, you aren’t painting to please your eyes; you are picking colors to appeal to buyers. The goal here is to give buyers the idea of a blank canvas. This way the buyer doesn’t have to do much work (which is a factor, believe it or not) but it also helps them visualize living in your home. These are some giant and important steps in getting them to make an offer.

Don’t take the comments personally, put them to good use

The most hurtful comment can be one about cleanliness. Everyone can understand why that comment might depress you, but don’t let it. We all practice a certain level of cleanliness...

How to Get Started in Real Estate Investing

Are you thinking about getting started in real estate investing? Well if you do it correctly, your first investment property has the potential to be quite profitable. I cannot think of any reason a newbie real estate investor cannot profit from a small, purchase to start off with. Home values are rising at a rate of 3.9 percent year after year, and expectations have them rising another 2.6 percent over the next year. If you’ve been considering real estate investment, now is the time to throw down some of your savings towards some real estate.

 In order to start the right way, you’ll need to make some executive decisions. Here’s how to go about this.

 Assess your current finances

 Usually the standard percent to put down on a property is 20%. To avoid having two mortgages, let’s be responsible and save/wait until we can afford the property outright. Yes, this will require a large amount of cash, and much discipline, but to skip the lender and avoid interest rates, you might opt for a foreclosure listed below the local market median.

If you have no need for a mortgage, you should consider living in your investment property so the owner-occupant rates can be fully utilized. This is only temporary living. One year will lock in the lower interest rates for the remainder of the mortgage. If you live in your property, the rates are much more favorable than a second home, or rental property loans.

For those lucky enough to purchase multiple income properties at the same time, it’s vital to choose the right financing. In this situation, it is recommended you use cheap 30-year fixed rate mortgages and buy as many properties as possible.

 Determine the potential cash flow

 Watching popular shows that show you how to flip houses make this task look pretty easy. Usually most homeowners profit little or none at all when they sell shortly after closing. Obviously making major renovations on a flipped...

How to Protect Your Belongings During an Open House

Don’t want to get your jewelry stolen during an open house? Well be sure to secure them from the people who will be rummaging through your closets, drawers, and cabinets.

An open house is pretty much an open invitation for complete strangers to walk through your house while you are absent. You post a sign in your yard saying you won’t be home during these hours, so come on in and take a look around.

There are a few risks once you put your home on the market and make it open to the public. As humans we expect a common code of decency when we let humans in our home. It doesn’t hurt to be proactive in case the common code is undervalued. Chances are they’re not going to help themselves to your valuables while you’re gone, but I definitely wouldn’t give them an open invite to do so.

People are just curious, it’s in our genes, and they are given a right to be curious during an open house.

The target spots will be your medicine cabinets, jewelry boxes, and your trinket room. Be sure to scan your rooms and look for easily pocketed items. This will include your prescriptions, notes with personal or valuable information, checkbooks, and jewelry.

Do NOT overlook the potential opportunities for identity theft; this is a growing crime in America. This means all bills, bank statements, and mail need to be put away where no one can stumble upon them. Don’t stuff them in a drawer, that’s just dumb. Lock them up!

Also be sure not to obsess over whether it is secure enough. This could create a state of fear and paranoia. No one in their right mind will walk out of your home with your brand new plasma TV, but they might put the $100 bottle of wine in their purse on the way out.

Here are your safety tips

  • Find a reputable agent and ask him/her how to safeguard your home during an open house.
  • Make sure your agent has a sign-in sheet for everyone who enters your home.
  • For multilevel homes, request your agent...