If you’re currently using your attic as a catchall for everything from your old Beanie Baby collection to those torrid letters from your sixth-grade pen pal (what were you guys thinking, anyway?), you’re missing out. Homeowners craving some extra space can pass on a pricey addition and invest in a top-floor renovation in the rafters instead. Whether you’re on the prowl for a kid’s playroom, the walk-in closet of your wildest (and weirdest) fantasies, or a man cave with a view, the attic might just be that special ticket. Here’s how to turn this long-forgotten space into the fave new spot in your home.
Replace pull-down ladders with stairs
Converting your hideaway in the rafters into a livable space isn’t without its obstacles. The biggest hurdle is often the stairs … or lack thereof, if your attic is ladder-accessible instead. “This can be the most challenging aspect, since there just might not be enough space to build stairs,” says Kathryn Scott of Kathryn Scott Design Studio. That said, you’d be surprised at what’s possible if you get a little creative.
Tom Cirignano of South Boston, MA, would know: When he and his wife downsized from over 2,700 feet of living area to just 1,100, they quickly found themselves panicking and asking, “Where do we store our stuff?” Fortunately, their new cottage home in Lakeville offered an unused space above the garage. Seeing an opportunity, Cirignano seized it.
You don’t need to be a private eye to uncover problems in your new home.
You’ve finally found a house that checks all the boxes, so now it’s time to make an offer, sign on the dotted line, and book the movers, right? Not so fast. That dream home for sale in San Francisco, CA, can turn out to be a real nightmare if the seller failed to disclose a cracked house foundation or pest infestation, and you fail to notice until after closing. Here are five things sellers commonly try to hide during the sales process, and the questions you can ask to suss out the truth.
Leaky faucets, radiators, ceilings, roofs — you name it, real estate agents, brokers, and sellers might try to temporarily plug that drip to attract offers. But honesty is always the best policy, and admitting your property’s faults can actually work in your favor. Jennifer Breu, a real estate agent based in New York, NY, once showed a home with a ceiling that was falling down; she still got a ton of offers on it and made the sale by being honest that the repairs would be made soon. “Leaks are very common, but they can be fixed very easily before the close,” says Breu. “It doesn’t pay to mask something that isn’t a huge issue and can be fixed. Transparency increases value.”
Before you sign a single page at the closing table, you’ll need to have these documents and forms at the ready.
Real estate paperwork can be overwhelming. Simply put, buying or selling a home buries you in printed materials. Some of them are obvious (W2s, bank statements), and some of them are surprising (what’s a termite letter anyway?). The key is to start collecting them now — before the time crunch begins.
Below are 19 must-have documents that both buyers and sellers will need in hand during the purchase process on that home for sale in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Note: These are just the most commonly needed documents. Some states require specific certification letters like confirmation of hurricane-grade windows, and in some situations, such as when you’re selling to a buyer who’s getting a VA loan, you may have to provide additional certifications to secure loan approval. Always, always talk to your real estate agent about the unknowns.
Different homes have always come with different features, layouts and amenities. What homebuyers have wanted in a house has been changing slowly over the last several decades. It will continue to change as time goes on. There are now some clear trends emerging. Here are the most important things that homebuyers want in a new home.
The appraisal comes in below the contract price
In active markets where there can be multiple interested parties for any one home, it’s not uncommon for the bank’s appraisal to be below the contract price. In this case, the buyer might have to bring additional funds to the table, which might not be an option. Or you can try to negotiate with the seller for a lower price.
But with multiple offers, the seller might be unwilling to take less — and why should they, if another buyer is ready to go?
There are other options, like going to another bank and getting a new appraisal, and a buyer who’s been shopping for a while will figure out a way to make it work. But if you’re new to the process and it feels too uncomfortable, you should walk from the deal.
One in four homebuyers is looking to purchase because their rent is too high, according to a Redfin survey of 750 homebuyers this month.
That’s up from one in five in November, and up from one in eight last August. In each survey, when we asked buyers what most influenced their decision to buy, the only choice cited more frequently was a major life event, such as the birth of a child or a marriage.
Affordability and Competition Headline Buyers’ Concerns
But the grass isn’t always greener. While buyers continued to cite affordability as their top concern, inventory woes are gaining attention. Twenty percent of buyers worried there weren’t enough homes to choose from, up four percentage points from last quarter. And 16 percent of respondents said there was too much competition from other buyers, a five percentage point jump from last quarter.
1. Use interior design trends to gain inspiration
In the same way as fashion changes over time, interior design trends also move as the seasons come and go. So to stay ahead of the game when preparing your home for sale, browse through the web and check out the latest interior design magazines to find what’s trending. For instance, modern interiors call for a base that is kept neutral with flashes of a bright color to brighten up the palette. Also, less structured, informal furnishings are the way to go.
In 2016, the individual, couple, or family able to pay a seller's asking price will first check out the listing online—perhaps through a video virtual tour—to decide whether or not to visit a seller's property. This means that when property owners consider which professionals to list with, these sellers must evaluate the professional online presence and skills of the brokerage and salesperson to ensure they can capture the attention of today's online-savvy buyers, engage them, entice them with the listing, and guide them successfully through the transaction.
When sellers have little or no personal experience with online marketing, or marketing in general, how can they effectively evaluate online marketing expertise? Homeowners who consider themselves savvy when it comes to social media and streaming movies, may be at an even greater disadvantage if you believe the saying, "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing."
Decoding The Online Listing
Sellers will benefit from understanding the following three Online Marketing Issues when selecting a listing agent:
What is a short sale on a house?A short sale happens when the homeowner sells the house for less than the amount owed, and the lender does not get all its money back. Typically, this happens when the home’s value falls. A short sale occurs only with the lender’s permission.
But $40,000 in renovations later, he feels differently.
Don’t sabotage your home sale with outdoor decor that turns buyers off before they’ve even walked through the door.
Click here for the full article.
Are your home shoppers desperately trying to find “the one?” Finding the perfect housing match can be like finding the perfect mate. For some Americans, this year’s Valentine may come in the form of a home, filled with shiny new fixtures and a great first impression. But that search isn’t always easy.
In a recent article, realtor.com® highlights how home-shopping can feel a lot like dating.
1. You need to have trust.
Americans seem to think they have a better chance at finding love than finding the perfect home. Fifty-two percent of home buyers believe they will find their dream home compared to 73 percent of Americans who believe they will find true love. While competition in the housing market is intense right now, home buyers shouldn’t get disheartened.
2. Don’t take the first one you find.
Home buyers look at a median of 10 homes before making a purchase. In the search for love, a man will date, on average, six other people before choosing “the one," while a woman typically dates five. Home buyers shouldn’t be discouraged if the first few homes don’t feel right to them. Sometimes it takes a few before finding the perfect match.
3. Try finding an online connection first.
Ninety-two percent of home buyers say they use the Internet during their housing search while 38 percent of single-Americans say they have used online or mobile dating services to find love. Does that make realtor.com® your Matchmaker.com? The majority of Americans surveyed about dating sites and mobile apps say that they find a better romantic match because of the wide range of potential partners they can access. Sounds like a good lesson for real estate too!
4. First impressions do matter.
Seventy-seven percent of home buyers say they’ll know immediately when they’ve found their ideal home; 52 percent of Americans believe in love at first sight when dating. Trust your hunch.
5. Regrets happen.
Eighty percent of home buyers have at least one major regret about their new home purchase; 72 percent of married women admit they’ve considered leaving their husbands at some point. Home owners typically had buyer's remorse when buying a home that was too small or didn't have enough storage space, choosing a home near unpleasant neighbors, and purchasing in a bad school district. At least with real estate, your always a for-sale sign away from moving on.
“The reality, of course, is that neither homes nor relationships are ever truly perfect,” realtor.com®’s article notes. “But if you really work at understanding what you want and what you need, and taking the time to assess a variety of options, you’re likely to find a pretty good fit. Maybe even one that will improve with time.”
An analysis of roughly 1.6 million home listings found that lower-priced homes were most likely to have the word “love” in property descriptions, while homes priced in the millions of dollars were most likely to have “sexy” and “seductive” in the descriptions. Wall Street Journal's Stefanos Chen reports.
Federal regulators could be a wild card in commercial real estate lending in 2016, according to this NAR Government Affairs regulatory update for real estate professionals.
Ask For What You Want
Your future landlord isn’t going to offer an awesome deal right off the bat — not if they’re in the business of making money, any way — so if you want to save dough on your rent or other upfront expenses, you have to ask for it. As your mom used to say, “The worst they can say is ‘no.’”
Remember, everything's negotiable.
Moving into a new apartment and need to mind your budget? There are a few tactics you can employ to score a better deal on your new digs. Consider these tips on how to negotiate your rental or lease agreement to walk away a winner:
Come Prepared to Get the Best Deal
You’ll impress your future landlord — and let them know you’re serious about the property — by coming to the meeting dressed professionally and prepared with all the documents necessary to expedite the agreement.
“I tell all my clients to have all their paperwork at the ready, meaning credit report, application, letter of recommendation, bio, income, bank statements, and tax return,” explains Kimberly Tucci, an agent with Realty Group International. “Since demand is high and supply is low, they need to be prepared and strike when the iron’s hot.”
Consider an Extended Lease Agreement
Most leases are for a one-year term, but if you don’t have any plans to relocate in the immediate future, perhaps you should consider a two-year agreement with the landlord if they’re open to the idea.
“Landlords may give you a break if you commit to an extended lease,” Larsen suggests. “If you offer to take a two-year lease, for example, the guarantee that the apartment won’t sit vacant is appealing. If you’re renewing a lease, your track record as a good tenant can be a bargaining tool for landlords who don’t want to risk losing you or pay the cost of sourcing a new tenant if they’re paying a broker’s fee.”
Know Your Worth as a Tenant
Don’t sell yourself short as a renter. If you’re responsible, professional, quiet, and clean, use those characteristics as selling points when you start negotiations.
“From the landlord’s perspective, a bad tenant can cost much more than some lost rent,” Stern says. “Emphasize your positives that always pay rent timely, you have stable employment, you’ve never had past issues with other landlords, etc. Our current landlord gave us a below market price because she knew she could trust us.”
From one of our lending partners - Movement Mortgage - explaining the mortgage process.
1) Cash Flow
The returns I have been able to generate from rental properties are significantly higher than what I could get through other investment vehicles including stocks, bonds, etc. If purchased properly you can see hundreds and hundreds of extra cash flow each month from just one rental property. Even after deducting all expenses and future expenses. (Vacancy, repairs, etc.)
Real estate by nature is an appreciating asset. Even with the bubble we went through awhile back it is clear that real estate is back on the rise. Appreciation to me is icing on the cake as I typically don’t run my numbers speculating on appreciation however deep inside, I know it’s there and being able to tap in to equity via HELOCs or equity loans can be a great strategy to leverage that money and buy more investments. It can be a great way to rapidly build net worth.
3) Principle pay down
While you’re sitting pretty making cash flow each month from your properties and possibly gaining equity through appreciation, other people (your tenants) are paying down your principal balance for you also. (Assuming you are financing your properties). That is just amazing! What other investments exist out there where you can get other people to pay off your leveraged loans you are using to buy investments. It really is a beautiful thing. And speaking of leverage…
If you read Rich Dad Poor Dad, or countless other books on real estate investing you will see how some of the richest people in the world built their wealth by leveraging other people’s money (Banks, private money, etc..) to buy income producing assets. Having the ability to purchase rental properties with someone else’s money gives you the ability to grow substantially and provide higher returns to your COC (Cash on Cash) returns.
5) Tax Benefits
There are numerous tax advantages to having real estate. Many write-offs that help you come tax day. Some of these deductions include depreciation on each property you own, mortgage interest, repair expenses, travel expenses (mileage to and from your rentals), Home office (provided your meet certain requirements), Insurance premiums and legal and professional services (accountants, property mgmt., etc.)
6) Retire early
This is my favorite of course. Having rental properties is a means to financial freedom. It’s one of the best ways to build passive income and retire early. You can have a never-ending flow of monthly income all while your assets appreciate. Its gold!!
Tress Realty Group compiles some of the best real estate news, tips, and information for buyers, sellers and investors.