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Real Estate

Ask the Expert: How Should I Prepare a Home to Sell in the Fall?

RisMedia - October 29, 2017 - 11:07am

Today’s Ask the Expert column features Dan Steward, president of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors.

Q: What are your top tips for preparing to sell a home in the fall?

A: First and foremost, use the beauty of the season. If you’re lucky enough to live in a region that experiences changing seasons, take advantage of everything the season has to offer by incorporating autumnal flowers, plants and floral arrangements into the mix. Whether it’s colorful mums or adding intense color and drama to the home’s exterior with perennials, feature a variety of fall floral arrangements both inside and outside the home.

Next, be sure to check the roof and gutters. While a roof’s drainage system diverts thousands of gallons of water from a home’s exterior and foundation walls, it’s important to keep the process moving in order to avoid water damage. In addition to taking the time to unclog and clean the gutters, now is also a good time to inspect the roof from top to bottom. In addition to looking for damage to metal flashing in and around vents and chimneys, check ridge shingles for cracks and wind damage.

While outside, take the time to check driveways, walkways and steps for any noticeable damage. Fixing any problem areas during the fall is critical in order to prevent little problems from becoming expensive headaches down the line. Look for cracks that are more than 1/8-inch wide, uneven sections and loose railings on steps.

Before the bitter temperatures of the winter season move in, take the necessary steps to ensure that outside faucets and in-ground irrigation systems don’t freeze and burst. Close any shut-off valves serving outside faucets, then open the outside faucet to the drain line. If you don’t have shut-off valves, or freeze-proof faucets, you can buy faucet covers at your local home improvement store.

Moving inside, check the home for air leaks, as gaps in caulk and weather-stripping can account for 10 percent of a home’s heating bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. While weather-stripping is the most cost-effective way to control heating and cooling costs, it should be checked and replaced as needed every six months.

And last, but not least, bring in a professional to inspect the home’s heating system to ensure it’s working properly before the cold weather arrives.

For more information, please visit www.pillartopost.com.

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Categories: Real Estate

How to Sell a Vacant Home in the Off-Season

RisMedia - October 27, 2017 - 10:00pm

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

There’s a reason that spring and summer are the major seasons for selling houses. Most people want to move at a time that allows them to be settled by the fall, when kids go back to school and daylight shortens.

However, you might find yourself having to sell a vacant home in the off-season. The home might be empty because the seller had to move on for reasons of work or had to move into a house he or she was paying for.

There are really two issues here. The first is selling a vacant house. The second is selling a house in the off-season. Here are some tips on how to do both:

Selling a Vacant House

Keep Up Maintenance and Repair – Even with no one around, surfaces need to be dusted and kept clean. Once people move out, minor items needing repair, like a leaky faucet or a burned-out light bulb, might not be noticed. It’s your job to notice, though, because signs of even minor disrepair or lack of maintenance can quickly turn off prospective buyers.

Clean the house or hire someone to clean it at least once a month. Surfaces need to be dusted, for example, and floors mopped or vacuumed. Do a walkthrough looking for repairs once a month, or hire a property manager to do it.

Make Sure the House Doesn’t Look Vacant  A vacant property shouldn’t look vacant for two reasons: First, it’s uninviting to see an empty property. It’s less likely that a buyer will see themselves in the space; second, it’s an open invitation to thieves, vandals and even squatters. You don’t want to open the door one day and see that vandals spray-painted all over the walls.

Develop a plan. Pick up mail if the seller isn’t having it forwarded. Place lights on timers so that they go on automatically in the evening, just as they would if someone still lived there. Many have remote apps that make this easy.

Turn Heat or Air Conditioning on Regularly  Don’t leave the heat or air conditioning off for long periods of time. Lack of heat can cause pipes to freeze or burst. Lack of air conditioning may make it difficult to cool the house properly when it comes time to show it. In addition, lack of proper ventilation can make the house smell musty and unused.

It’s best to run the heat and air conditioning at regular intervals while the house is vacant.

Focus on Curb Appeal  Don’t skimp on curb appeal just because the house is vacant. If anything, making the house look inviting becomes even more critical if no one lives there. Keep the grounds and garden in the same pristine condition as the house. Paint the door a vibrant color. Place small trees on either side to frame it.

Stage the Interior  When prospective buyers come, they need to see an interior that looks welcoming, and that allows them to visualize themselves in the house. They may not be able to do that fully if the house is completely empty.

On the other hand, completely furnishing an empty house may not be practical. What you need to do is stage the interior. Put focal pieces in each room, for example. You don’t need to create a functional room; you just have to give clients a sense of how the room would look if they lived there. In other words: a fireplace with wood, a lamp and a sofa in the living room might be enough. No need for matching armchairs and two more lamps!

Selling in the Off-Season

Price to Sell  While you likely won’t attract the maximum number of buyers in the off-season, some people do look in the fall and winter. To move the house, the most prudent move is to price it to sell. If you’re in a hot market, that may be at a market price. If demand is a tad sluggish, price it slightly under. For most sellers, it’s better to sell at a price slightly under the asking price in October than to wait five more months, especially if they’re carrying the mortgage.

Sweeten the Offer  Sweetening the offer may also help sell the house in the off-season. Nicely enough, sweeteners abound, depending on the property. Does a patio look as if it may need replacement in the next five years? See if the seller will replace it as a sweetener. Do the same with any major appliance that may go in five years, such as water heaters.

The other sweetener strategy is to wait for buyers to suggest things. Some may want a reseeded lawn or pruned trees. Entertain these offers if they look likely to result in a sale.

It can be more challenging to sell a vacant home in the off-season, but by utilizing these tips, you’ll place yourself at a strategic advantage in moving a house in the off-season.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Categories: Real Estate

Protect Your Email From Latest Hacking Trend

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 26, 2017 - 11:00pm

Hackers are using more sophisticated methods and research to make targeted personal email attacks in order to access to financial information...

Categories: Real Estate

Mortgage Rates Jump to 3-Month High

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 26, 2017 - 11:00pm

Borrowers saw higher rates this week as the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage jumped 6 basis points. 

Categories: Real Estate

Evictions Are a Growing Threat to Renters

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 26, 2017 - 11:00pm

Nearly one in five renters were unable to pay their rent in full within the past three months, according to a new study. 

Categories: Real Estate

Fewer ‘Zombie’ Homes Haunt Neighborhoods

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 26, 2017 - 11:00pm

Homes in foreclosure limbo—labeled “zombies”—have seen a big plunge in the past year as a supply-starved housing market...

Categories: Real Estate

What Home Insurance Doesn’t Cover

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 26, 2017 - 11:00pm

Make sure your homeowners read the fine print so they don’t have any surprises if disaster ever strikes. 

Categories: Real Estate

5 Smells That Sell Houses

RisMedia - October 26, 2017 - 2:07pm

What’s that smell? The sense of smell is the strongest of all the senses to connect buyers to a home. While a bad smell can really deter buyers, a good smell can tempt buyers to a sale. From “green” scents to seasonal scents, discover the right smells for triggering positive emotions and home sales.

  1. Clean Smell
    Most of us associate “clean” with strongly scented cleaning products and disinfectants. It can even make buyers nostalgic. But remember, a little goes a long way. You should dilute your cleaning solutions so buyers don’t get overwhelmed.
  1. Citrus
    Using actual fruit is one way to get a clean smell without all the cleaning products. Lemon, orange and grapefruit scents are best. One great tip is to grind up lemon or orange rind with a few ice cubes in the garbage disposal. This will freshen up the kitchen, one of the most important rooms in the house.
  1. Natural Smell
    Sometimes the best scent is no scent at all. Try using “green” cleaning supplies, baking soda and other non-scented products that neutralize odors. The idea is that simpler is better, so you want to avoid complex, artificial smells from potpourri, sprays and plug-ins, which can actually distract buyers and turn them off.
  1. Baked Goods
    Nothing can make a house smell more like home than freshly baked goods, but be sure to stick to simple smells like vanilla, cinnamon and fresh bread. You don’t have to really bake anything. One trick is to boil some water and throw in a few cinnamon sticks an hour before a showing.
  1. Pine
    Don’t we all love that fresh pine scent? Especially with the holidays around the corner, it’s a great scent to greet buyers when they walk in the door. If you don’t want to put up a live tree, you can simply hang a wreath of tree trimmings or some fresh garland. You can’t go wrong with setting a holiday mood to inspire a sale.

There’s a lot that goes into the sale of a home. Make sure a great smell is at the top of the list. And to increase its value even more, add an American Home Shield® Home Warranty to every transaction.

For more articles like this, please visit the American Home Shield Blog at ahs.com/home-matters.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Categories: Real Estate

All About Clean: Master Bathroom Trends

RisMedia Consumer News - October 26, 2017 - 2:05pm

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

Thumb through any home decor magazine, and you’ll see a master bathroom with a soaker or shower as the showpiece. Ta-da!

Homeowners, it turns out, are splurging to scrub up, according to the recently released U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study. Ninety-one percent of homeowners in the study added a spacious shower to their master bathroom (after tearing out the tub), and many added on deluxe features, like a body sprayer or rainfall showerhead, for an improved, spa-like space.

The average cost for a large-scale remodel of a master bath (sized over 100 square feet) was $21,000, shows the study. Master bath renovations cost more in pricey markets, however. In San Francisco, Calif., for example, a major remodel averages $34,100.

Accompanying a luxury shower is a soothing gray and white color palette, according to the study. Nineteen percent of homeowners installed white countertops in the master bath, and 40 percent painted its walls white. Fourteen percent added gray cabinets, as well, to complete the tone-on-tone look. The majority of homeowners (90 percent) changed the overall style of the room, some to contemporary (25 percent), some to transitional (17 percent), and some, still, to modern (15 percent).

As with other areas at home, homeowners are also integrating technology into their master baths. Atmospheric lighting, digital controls and smart toilets are all popular upgrades, shows the study.

Bathrooms—master bathrooms, especially—are key at resale. The 2017 Cost vs. Value Report by Remodeling magazine estimates the resale value of a “mid-range” bath renovation at $12,024 (a 64.8 percent return on investment), and the resale value of an “upscale” bath renovation at $35,456 (a 59.1 percent return on investment).

Beyond a master bath overhaul, another bathroom anywhere in the home can make homeowners happier with their house, a recent report by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) showed. A bathroom earned a perfect 10 “Joy Score” in the report.

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post All About Clean: Master Bathroom Trends appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

Vinyl Ranks No. 1 for New-Home Exteriors

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 25, 2017 - 11:00pm

See the most popular exterior siding choices based on region. 

Categories: Real Estate

4 Social Benefits of Homeownership

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 25, 2017 - 11:00pm

“Homeownership ... is the basis for a number of positive social, economic, family, and civic outcomes,” researchers note in a new...

Categories: Real Estate

New Zealand to Ban Foreign Buyers

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 25, 2017 - 11:00pm

Officials say the country’s housing stock is officially “no longer for sale” to nonresidents. 

Categories: Real Estate

Make Your Halloween Marketing a Scream

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 25, 2017 - 11:00pm

Some real estate pros are using Halloween to make their listings “spooktacular” for clients. 

Categories: Real Estate

Buying in the Fall Remains a Challenge

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 25, 2017 - 11:00pm

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index drops to its lowest reading since 2015, as a shortage of lower-end homes continues to squeeze out...

Categories: Real Estate

7 Easiest Ways to Get Into Real Estate Investing Now

RisMedia - October 25, 2017 - 1:46pm

(TNS)—Only 15 percent of Americans are investing in real estate other than their primary residence, according to a real estate investing study by RealtyShares. In fact, two-thirds of Americans believe that investing in real estate is too difficult, too costly or beyond their capabilities. This might be true if they were considering commercial real estate investing, which can be a risky move for new investors, but there are safer options.

What Is Real Estate Investing?
Investing in real estate means buying property to earn income and build wealth, either on your own or with the help of real estate investment companies. Many investors own more than one property, and their earnings include rent paid by tenants and the equity they build through appreciation. Investment property owners have different tax considerations for their investment properties than they do for their primary residence.

Investing in real estate doesn’t have to be intimidating. Here are seven ways to start investing in real estate now:

Rental Properties
Buying rental property is one way to get started in real estate investing. Buying a rental property starts with choosing the right property, and then finding renters, maintaining the property, dealing with tenants and collecting rent each month.

One stumbling block might be locating an affordable property worth investing in.

“Traditional real estate investing is alive and well, although it’s largely dependent on geography,” says Aaron Milledge, founding partner and chief compliance officer of Targeted Wealth Solutions, LLC. “In some places, home prices have appreciated so much that it may be difficult to find a lucrative deal.”

Rental properties not only provide rental income, but also tax benefits not available with other investment opportunities. An additional advantage is that you have more control over your rental property than you do over investments such as the stock market.

Live-In Flips
House flipping involves buying a property at a discount, improving it for the purpose of appreciating its value, and then selling it at a profit. A live-in flip is a property the investor lives in while renovating it.

Living in your flip benefits you in two ways: First, you can make money when you sell the house later; second, you avoid having to pay for a separate home to live in.

“Flipping a house—acquiring, repairs, and selling—can be completed in six months and result in a substantial payday,” says Lucas Machado, real estate investor and founder of Home Heroes, LLC. “Flips can earn tens of thousands of dollars in a short time frame. It’s the best strategy for those that need capital in the near future.”

Multifamily Homes
Multifamily properties are buildings that house more than one family. The fact that people always need a place to live results in consistent demand for rental units regardless of the overall economic environment.

Investing in multifamily homes can be lucrative if it’s done properly. Justin Taber, real estate investor and a licensed REALTOR® in Ohio, recommends living onsite.

“While you live in this property, you will be living either for free or heavily subsidized by renters,” Taber says. “When you move out, you will be making money. In about 30 years, once this property is paid off, your cash flow will be quite substantial—just in time for you to start thinking about retirement.”

Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding is one of the newest and easiest ways to access the real estate markets. Rather than buying an entire property or financing a development project on your own, you can buy into a very small share of a property or project using a real estate crowdfunding platform.

Not all platforms are created equal. Look for one led by real estate professionals qualified to screen investments. From there, you can choose which specific real estate investments you want to buy into. Distribution of future gains is proportionally based on the ownership shares investors purchased.

“These private placements are illiquid, though, meaning that you may have a hard time selling your investment if you need to raise cash quickly,” says Milledge.

REITs
Real estate investment trusts (REITs) are a special form of security that invests in real estate. Unlike most other investment vehicles, REITs must pay out at least 90 percent of their taxable income as dividends to investors. When you invest in a REIT, you’re essentially paying a professional management team to do the work of investing your money in real estate while you reap the profits of REITs.

REITs are an easy way to invest in real estate because you don’t need tons of money.

“The initial contribution to invest in a REIT is very low,” says John Barnes, certified financial planner and founder of The Annuity Assistant. “For example, you could buy shares of a REIT which manages apartment complexes for $500. Contrast this with a direct purchase in an apartment building, which might cost you $500,000, and the many risks that go with it.”

Real Estate Wholesaling
Real estate wholesaling is when there is a middleman involved in the transaction between the seller and the buyer, with the wholesaler serving as the middleman.

Kyle Alfriend, owner of Alfriend Real Estate Group, sums up what it’s like to be the middleman: “You focus on only finding the property, negotiating the price, and then selling that agreement to another investor. This is called wholesaling and requires no out-of-pocket money from you.”

The fine line of separation between real estate wholesaling, which doesn’t require a real estate license, and real estate brokering, which does require a license, has led some states to set guidelines for wholesaling activities. Texas law, for example, requires that unlicensed wholesalers disclose their financial interest to prospective buyers.

Rent Out a Space in Your Home or on Your Property
Renting out part of your home or property is probably the most immediately lucrative investment you can make, and you won’t need outside funding or a new piece of property. Instead, find opportunities within the property you already own.

Perhaps you’re a homeowner with a garage apartment that only needs a bit of TLC to make it ready for renters, pr maybe you have a spare room in your home that’s sitting empty. With a little bit of money up front, you can start renting it to a tenant almost immediately. Alternatively, advertise the room as a vacation rental on an online booking site such as Airbnb.

Michael McDonald contributed to the reporting for this article.

©2017 GOBankingRates.com, a ConsumerTrack web property

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of RISMedia.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post 7 Easiest Ways to Get Into Real Estate Investing Now appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

5 Painting Mistakes That’ll Show

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 24, 2017 - 11:00pm

A fresh coat of paint can make a big difference to the appearance of a room. But before you send your clients off with a paintbrush, make sure you...

Categories: Real Estate

New-Home Sales Hit 10-Year High

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 24, 2017 - 11:00pm

Activity in the new-construction sector rose 18.9 percent last month, according to data from HUD and the Census Bureau.

Categories: Real Estate

Why Are Victorians so Spooky?

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 24, 2017 - 11:00pm

Victorian architecture is often used to connote an eerie, haunted quality. How did the style get such a creepy rep?

Categories: Real Estate

Airbnb May Boost Home Prices

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 24, 2017 - 11:00pm

The home-sharing service may prove to be a boon to home values and rental rates in a metro area, according to a new analysis. 

Categories: Real Estate

Upscale Staging Is Key in Luxury Condos

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 24, 2017 - 11:00pm

Looking to get your listing noticed on the higher end of the market? Condo developers in this segment say they lure affluent buyers with models...

Categories: Real Estate