Buying an Investment Property? Here’s How You Can Maximize Your Rental Revenue

Buying an Investment Property? Here's How You Can Maximize Your Rental RevenueWhether you’re buying a ski-in/ski-out condo at your favorite resort or you’re thinking of picking up a small home in a busy tourist area, buying a property for short-term rental purposes can be an excellent investment that quickly begins to provide additional revenue.

Let’s take a quick look at a few steps that you can take to maximize the revenue that your investment properties bring in each month.

Upgrade Your Home to Give It a Luxurious Feel

It should go without saying that if you want your home to rent for a high price it has to have a significant amount of value behind it. After you purchase the home, spend some time on upgrades that help to enhance the home’s beauty and usability. If possible each sofa should be a sofa-bed so that additional guests can stay the night. Upgrade the televisions, have Wi-Fi internet access available and provide a phone number that guests can call if anything goes awry.

Professional Photos and Copywriting

If you’re renting your property out to short-term or vacationing tenants you’re most likely going to use online services like VRBO, HomeAway or AirBnB to attract new business. While these sites have a lot of visitor traffic you’re also going to face a high level of competition from other property owners in the area. It’s worth paying a professional photographer to take pictures of your home as well as having a professional copywriter handle the sales copy for your listing. These are one-time costs that can help you to defeat your competition and close high-ticket clients.

Cater to Large Groups or a Niche Crowd

There are a number of “niche” travelers out there and if you can cater to these groups you’ll find that you’re able to charge more than the average vacation property. For example, you may be buying a home in a popular wedding destination that can be marketed to couples who are being married. If you’re buying a larger 3 or 4 bedroom home, be sure to note that it can house large groups who may be traveling together.

Referrals and Repeat Business

Finally, don’t forget to ask your clients to refer you to their friends and family who many want to stay in your unit, and always invite them to return in the future. You may want to consider offering a discount to repeat visitors to encourage them to visit annually.

Renting out your vacation home or investment property can provide a lucrative income stream as long as you have a professional approach and focus on providing a high level of customer service.

How Can I Price My Home To Sell More Quickly?

How Can I Price My Home To Sell More Quickly?If you are thinking about selling your home, then you want to make sure that you get as much money for your home as possible. Therefore, there is a solid chance that you are thinking about all of the places that you watched your kids grow up, the numerous parties that you hosted, and the countless holidays that you celebrated. To you, those memories are priceless.

Therefore, you should put these factors aside when you are selling your home. You aren’t selling your memories. Instead, you are trying to sell a home. If you want your home to sell quickly, there are a few tips that you should follow.

Do Not Price Your Home High Immediately

You probably think that your house is wonderful. After all, that is why you decided to move in all those years ago. The problem is that if you price your home too high at the beginning, then it might sit on the market for a long time. The longer a home sits on the market, the harder it is going to be to sell. Therefore, do not miss that window of opportunity. Instead, try to price your home to sell. Generate plenty of interest in your home so that you receive multiple offers. That is how you can get the most money possible for your home while still selling it quickly.

Don’t Assume Recent Renovations Are Going To Provide You With A Higher Price

If you have watched a lot of TV shows, then you might assume that renovations are going to drive up the listing price. This is not necessarily the case. You need to assess the market value of the renovations that you completed in the context of your home. That way, you can make sure that you recoup as much money as possible.

Price Your Home To Sell

These are just a few of the most important tips that you need to keep in mind if you want to make sure that you price your home to sell. If you want your home to sell quickly, then you need to ensure that you get plenty of interest in it. Pricing your home to sell will help to make this happen.

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Let There Be Light! 3 Easy Ways to Make over a Room by Adding New Light Fixtures

Let There Be Light! 3 Easy Ways to Make over a Room by Adding New Light Fixtures

Light is an important design element that can be used to influence your interior decor in a number of ways. In fact, you can experience a major transformative change on the overall style and ambiance of a room by making a few simple lighting changes. Consider how these ideas can help you to improve the look of your space with great results, and think about ways that you can improve your space by making a few changes.

The Addition of Spotlights

If you have fine pieces of artwork, decorative display areas or other features that you want to illustrate with beautiful clarity, the addition of spotlights is a great idea. You can shine light on these special features in your home by installing a single, bright fixture with a focused beam overhead, or you can use track lighting to highlight larger features. In some cases, the design or layout of your room may be sufficient to allow lighting to be placed at eye-level or even below the fixture to shine upward at it.

Background Illumination

While spotlights can shine a focused beam of light on fixtures, you can also use background lighting for ambiance. Consider how you can incorporate background lighting with under-cabinet kitchen lighting, dimmer recessed lighting placed behind a sofa or other features. Generally, these are lights that do not provide direct lighting, and the light may not be the main source of light in the room. It may even have a hint of color to it for a dramatic flair that further establishes ambiance.

Beautiful Lamps

Another idea is to use beautiful or decorative lamps in your room. These may be smaller desk lamps, towering floor lamps or table top lamps. There are lamps available in a wide range of colors, sizes and styles. The lighting from the lamps may influence ambiance and provide functional lighting, but the decorative nature of the lamps themselves can enhance the décor even when the lights are not turned on.

There are many different types of lighting that can influence your home’s décor, and in many cases, it makes sense to incorporate each of these styles of lighting in a single room to enjoy different benefits. You can study your rooms’ layouts and designs today to learn more about how the existing light fixtures influence decor, and you can make a few appropriate changes to enjoy better overall results for your space.

What To Watch Out For When Buying A Home

What To Watch Out For When Buying A HomeBuying a new home is an exciting experience.  At the same time, it is also important for everyone to think about a few important topics that have to be discussed before they place an offer on a home. That way, everyone can rest easy, knowing they have done their due diligence when it comes to purchasing a new home.

Do Not Neglect The Noise Level Of The Neighborhood

One of the most commonly overlooked topics when it comes to buying a house is the noise level of the neighborhood. Some noise from the outside world is to be expected, particularly for those who move into a busy neighborhood. During a tour of the potential home, it is a good idea to ask realtors to lower the level of background noise. That way, people can get a good feel for what the potential neighborhood noise level might be like. 

Always Ask About The Age Of The Roof

One of the easiest facets of a house to overlook is the roof. At the same time, the roof is also one of the biggest parts of the home. Therefore, it is a good idea for everyone to make sure they do a thorough inspection of the roof. They should look for damages both from the outside as well as inside. Ask about the age of the roof as well. Be sure to check for damaged shingles.

Ask About The Age Of The HVAC System

Another topic that has to be discussed is the HVAC system. In general, people should expect to get between 15 and 20 years of life out of their HVAC system. If the HVAC system in the home is getting close to the point of replacement, then it might be a good idea to ask for a price reduction because the new homeowner is going to have to replace the HVAC system in the near future.

Perform Due Diligence Before Buying A Home

These are a few of the most important points that people have to follow when they are buying a new home. Asking about these issues ahead of time can prevent homeowners from being surprised down the road.

 

Be Prepared for Your Mortgage Pre-approval Interview by Having Answers to These 4 Questions

Be Prepared for Your Mortgage Pre-approval Interview by Having Answers to These 4 QuestionsSo – you’ve completed an initial mortgage pre-qualification and now you’re ready to take the next step and meet with your lender or mortgage advisor for the pre-approval interview. Are you ready?

At this stage of the application process your lender will dig into your financial background to ensure that you’re fully capable of making your mortgage payments and that you don’t present too high a risk. Let’s take a quick look at a few questions you should know the answers to before you go in for a mortgage pre-approval.

Do You Have a Specific Home in Mind?

If you’ve already picked out the perfect new home, be sure to bring along some of the details when you meet with your lender. At minimum you’ll want to know the price range that you’re expecting to buy in so that your mortgage advisor can try to find a mortgage that allows you to purchase the home and still meet your other financial goals.

What is Your Current Income from All Sources?

Your income (and that of your spouse, if you have one) will be a major factor in the size of your mortgage, your payment terms and the interest rate that you qualify for. If you have a significant income and it’s clear that you will have little trouble making the mortgage payments you’ll likely qualify for a shortened amortization period that includes a lower interest rate. Conversely, if you can only afford to make a bare minimum monthly payment you’ll be facing a longer mortgage term.

Do You Have Any “Black Marks” on Your Credit?

If you have any negative spots in your credit history you’ll want to ensure that you’re able to answer for them, because your lender will certainly ask about them. Be honest and confident, and remember that the lender wants your business as much as you want to receive a pre-approval for mortgage financing.

What Are Your Plans in the Next Five to Ten Years?

Finally don’t forget that interest rates will continue to fluctuate and that may have an impact on your mortgage in the near future. Be sure to share any major financial plans that you have with your mortgage advisor as they can keep you appraised of any refinancing opportunities that come about.

Buying a home is an exciting time – one that will be far less stressful if you are fully prepared for the many steps along the way. Contact your local mortgage professional today to learn more about how you can get pre-approved for mortgage financing.

Buying A Home Virtually

Buying A Home VirtuallyDuring the past few months, everyone has been going through unprecedented times. Every industry has been impacted and this includes the real estate sector. There are lots of people who are still trying to buy and sell a home during an era of social distancing. This can make it hard to look at a prospective property in person. The good news is that there are still ways for people to buy a house virtually. There are a few tips that everyone should keep in mind. 

Go On A Virtual Tour

Of course, everyone wants to take a close look at a home before they decide to buy it. Even though it is challenging to schedule live tours, virtual tours can still be helpful. With virtual real estate software, it is possible to take a virtual, walking tour the home. Furthermore, if tours have been recorded using drones, then a virtual tour might provide everyone with a new perspective on a potential home. 

Ask The Right Questions

It is important for everyone to make sure they ask the right questions. Even if someone is not going on a  tour of a home in person, it is still important to ask the same questions. For example, ask about the age of the roof, the age of the HVAC system, and other pertinent questions to the property. This will help everyone make sure they understand exactly what they are buying. 

Know What Is Not Seen Virtually

When it comes to asking questions, it is also important to think about items that cannot be seen virtually. For example, it might be difficult to judge noise levels outside of the home from a virtual tour. It might also be challenging to figure out where puddles tend to form during thunderstorms. These are important topics that have to be discussed as well. 

Prepare Early To Buy A Home Virtually

Even if people cannot see a property in person, the real estate market can still be relatively active. Therefore, anyone who is looking to buy a house in this market has to make sure they stay on top of their information. This will help them remain competitive when they are trying to buy the perfect house for their needs.

 

The Top Ways To Winter Proof A Home

The Top Ways To Winter Proof A Home

As the temperature continues to drop outside, many people are worried about what is going to happen to their heating bills. Given the challenging economic year, nobody wants to pay more than they have to. On the other hand, there are ways that people can keep their heating bills as low as possible as long as they take steps to winter-proof their homes now. 

Prevent Drafts Under The Doors And Windows

One of the most common reasons why people end up using more heat than they should is that they are losing heat to the external environment. Often, this heat flows through gaps between windows and doors. Therefore, everyone has to make sure their windows and doors are closed when they are not using them. Then, consider adding stopgaps between doors and windows to prevent heat from exiting the home. If the windows are unlikely to be opened during the winter, then it might be a smart idea to seal them. 

Add Insulation To Hot Water Pipes And Tanks

Many people do not realize just how much heat they use keeping their water hot in their homes. It is a great idea for homeowners to add insulation to hot water tanks and pipes. By adding some simple insulation, the hot water heater is not going to have to work as hard to get hot water up to the right temperature. This can save homeowners a significant amount of money on their heating bills. 

Use A Smart Thermostat

Many homeowners run their heater when they do not have to. For example, they might run their heater when they are at work or asleep. This is unnecessary. By using a smart thermostat, everyone can set up a schedule for their heater. That way, their heater will shut off when the home does not have to be warmed to a specific temperature. At the same time, remember to warm the house to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit at all times to prevent water from freezing in the pipes. 

Save Money On Heating Bills This Winter

These are a few of the top ways that homeowners can save money on their heating bills this winter without having to sacrifice their comfort.

 

Face The Numbers, A Mortgage That Works For You

Face The Numbers, A Mortgage That Works For YouBefore taking out a mortgage to buy a home, it’s time to take a realistic survey of your finances so that you can determine your price range and what size of home you can comfortably afford.

Buying a home that suits your finances will mean that your mortgage payments will be easily within your budget and won’t cause you financial stress.

Stay In Your Price Range

Many people, when offered a large mortgage by the bank, are tempted to buy homes that are outside of their price range.

It’s easy to see why a larger property or a more luxurious home might be appealing, but by stretching too far beyond your means you are courting with disaster.

If your monthly mortgage rate just barely fits within your budget, without room for savings, retirement contributions, or to build up an emergency fund – it will only be a matter of time before things start to get tight.

What happens if you lose your job, or if your income decreases? If you are unable to meet your mortgage payments, it is easy to slip very quickly into debt or even bankruptcy. This is why it is so crucial to buy a home that fits your budget.

Here Are Some Questions To Ask Yourself For Figuring Out How Much Mortgage You Can Comfortably Afford:

  • Make a detailed budget that chronicles your monthly incomings and outgoings. How much money do you really have each month to work with?
  • What type of safety net do you have if something goes wrong, in terms of savings and family support?
  • How large of a down payment are you able to save up? At least 20% of the property cost is recommended, but more is always better.
  • How much outstanding debt do you have from your other lenders, such as your credit card debts, your bank loans, student loans, etc?
  • How stable is your income? Do you have a steady paycheck or are you self-employed with variable income?
  • Are you willing to change your lifestyle and lead a more frugal life to get the house you want? Is there anywhere you can cut expenses and spend more on your mortgage payment?
  • What will be the total of all of the costs associated with purchasing the home, including closing costs, inspections and other fees?
  • What are the costs associated with moving? Don’t forget to include the moving van, new appliances, hotel expenses, gas and meals out during the transition period.

Once you have asked yourself these questions and taken a close look at your budget, you will be able to determine realistically what you can afford when buying a home – so that you can find that dream home that meets your budget. For more helpful advice, contact your trusted mortgage professional.

Important Advice For Locating The Right Neighborhood

Important Advice For Locating The Right NeighborhoodWhen people are thinking about moving, they want to make sure they find the right neighborhood. At the same time, it is not always easy for many homeowners to decide where they are going to live. Particularly if they are not familiar with the local community, there are a few important points that everyone should keep in mind. By thinking about these factors ahead of time, potential homeowners are going to place themselves in a position to be successful when they purchase their next home. 

Consider The Importance Of The Schools

Many people who are moving are looking for a bigger house because their family is getting larger. Therefore, one of the most important factors that families need to think about involve the quality of the schools. Schools are going to play a major role in the pricing of the neighborhood. Think about whether the kids are going to go to public school or private school. For families that are going to send their kids to public school, they need to think about the quality of the public schools and what school system the neighborhood is zoned for. 

Think About The Commute To Work

Another important factor that the family should consider is the commute to work. There are many people who are moving in an effort to shorten their commute or because they are getting a new job. Therefore, it is a smart idea to think about the traffic, the time it will take to work, and how challenging the driving route is going to be. This is going to play a major role and where the family is going to end up settling. 

The Access To Amenities

Finally, it is also important to think about access to amenities. This could include parks, shopping, hiking trails, and even access to the airport. Families need to think about what is important to them and prioritize this during the housing search. It is also a great idea to think about any development that might be taking place in the local area that could influence housing prices in the future. All of these factors should be considered when families are considering which neighborhood they would like to move to.

 

Understanding the Difference Between a Mortgage Pre-qualification and a Pre-approval

Understanding the Difference Between a Mortgage Pre-qualification and a Pre-approvalIf you’re in the market for a new home and you’ve been researching mortgages, you’ve likely come across the terms “pre-qualification” and “pre-approval”. While these terms are self-explanatory in some circumstances, they are quite different in regards to mortgage financing.

In today’s blog post we’ll explain the difference between a mortgage pre-qualification and a pre-approval.

Pre-qualification: an Initial Look at Your Mortgage Options

The first – and easiest – step on the way to receiving mortgage financing to buy a home is known as pre-qualification. During this process you’ll meet with a mortgage advisor or lender who will assess your financial history including your current income and any debts that you might have. Using these numbers they’ll perform a quick calculation that suggests how much mortgage financing you might qualify for when you’re ready to buy a home.

Your mortgage professional will also answer any questions that you might have about the process, including what interest rates you may qualify for, how much you’ll need to invest in your down payment and more.

Pre-approval: A Conditional Mortgage Commitment

After you’ve been pre-qualified for your mortgage and you’re ready to start looking for a new home you’ll go through the pre-approval process. At this time your mortgage advisor or lender will take a much deeper look into your current financial situation, including pulling a credit report to assess how much risk they will have in lending you money. You’ll also complete a full mortgage application as this will allow your lender to get a conditional approval for a certain amount or range. Finally you’ll be informed about the interest rate and the terms of the mortgage once you find your new home and complete the purchase.

The Final Step: Finding the Perfect Home

Now that you’ve been pre-approved and have received a conditional commitment from your lender, you’re ready to find that perfect new home. On top of having a better idea of your price range and what you can afford, you’ll find that sellers are far more receptive to your offers as having a pre-approval signals that you’re a serious buyer who is ready to make your move.

When you’re ready to buy your new house or condo, your local mortgage professional is ready to help. Contact them to learn more about pre-qualification, pre-approval and your financing options. Enjoy your new home!