Jenny Mendez Isenburg's Blog
11 Olde Surrey Lane, Medway, MA 02053
Once you’ve made up your mind that you want to buy a house, either to decrease your rent or increase your income, the next hurdle will be choosing the right property. You will find no shortage of glossy brochures or recommendations from all sides telling you why this flat or that house is best for you. So, which of the many voices should you pay attention to? Here are some guiding principles to help you make the right choice:
What are your home ownership goals?
Why do you want to buy a house? Do you want to live in it for the rest of your life, or is it just a place to start as you save up for your dream home? Is it your retirement paradise or is it an investment that you will flip for a profit after a year or two? Alternatively, you could just be in the market for a getaway cabin for your family.
Problems or challenges you’re dealing with in your current residence may contribute to some of these goals. Put them down in a list as some of the criteria any potential new home has to meet.
What kind of neighborhood do you want to live in?
If you’re buying a dream home or retirement retreat, this will be particularly important as this is where you’ll be spending the rest of your life. You want to live in a place where your neighbors hold dear the same aesthetic values as you. If you enjoy your peace and quiet, you might not want to live in an area where residents are allowed to hold loud parties until the wee hours.
How seriously is security taken in that neighborhood? How clean is the area? Is there a management committee or neighborhood association that looks into such issues?
Have you exhausted your options?
Before you seal any deal, ask yourself, “Can I do better?” You may have found a house that nearly checks all your must-have boxes, but there could be one down the street that does the same at a considerably lower asking price. Don’t assume there’s no better deal out there. Be willing to keep looking even if you feel you’ve been scouring the market for too long.
Write down your home ownership goals and hold them up against all the homes you’re considering for purchase. Make sure your real estate agent understands your goals so they can help you find the best home.
If you want to enjoy a successful home selling experience, it generally is helpful to establish a competitive initial asking price for your residence. With an aggressive price, you can stir up lots of interest in your home. As a result, you can increase the likelihood of a fast home sale.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you set a competitive initial asking price for your house.
1. Conduct a Home Appraisal
A home appraisal enables you to receive a property valuation. Then, you can use this valuation to determine how to price your house.
In addition, it often is beneficial to conduct a home inspection prior to listing a residence. An inspection allows you to receive insights into any home problems. Once you have a home inspection report in hand, you can prioritize house repairs and upgrades, improve your home and get the best price for your residence.
2. Evaluate the Local Housing Market
Take a look at the prices of available houses in your city or town that are similar to your residence. By doing so, you can establish a price range for comparable homes and use this information to decide how much to ask for your house.
Also, you may want to take a look at the prices of recently sold houses in your area and find out how long these residences were available before they sold. This housing market data can help you differentiate between a buyer's and seller's market.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
Pricing a home can be difficult, particularly for those who are listing a residence for the first time. If you work with a real estate agent, however, you can receive in-depth house selling insights and ensure you are better equipped than other sellers to optimize your home sale profits.
A real estate agent is happy to help you set an initial asking price for your home that hits the mark with buyers. He or she first will learn about you and your home and create a custom property selling strategy. Next, a real estate agent will help you prepare your residence for the real estate market. And when you're ready to sell your house, a real estate agent will add your residence to the local housing market and promote your home to buyers.
Of course, a real estate agent provides lots of assistance throughout the home selling journey too. A real estate agent will offer honest, unbiased recommendations at each stage of the home selling journey. Best of all, he or she will respond to any of your home selling concerns and queries.
As you get set to enter the real estate market, you should consider how to price your residence. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can set a competitive initial asking price for your home. That way, you can generate significant interest in your house as soon as it becomes available.
Many property owners at some point consider renting out their house. Whether it’s a property they inherited, a summer home they rarely use, or they're just trying their hand at property management.
It's a common misconception that renting out a house is passive income. You'll have to do a lot of work if you plan on keeping your tenants around and paying their rent.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the things you should consider if you're planning on renting out a house or property you own.
The rental process
Some landlords take shortcuts during the rental process to save time or money. However, doing so could cost you big time in the long run. If you don't utilize a real estate agent, draw up the proper contracts and agreements, or fail to do due diligence with walkthroughs, you could easily end up losing money on your investment.
The safest approach to finding reliable tenants and renting your property securely is to use a property manager who knows the practical and legal aspects of renting so you don't have to worry about making any beginner mistakes.
DIY property management
If you decide you want to save money and manage the property yourself, there are a few things you should keep in mind when looking for tenants.
First, use background checks and credit checks to ensure your future tenants are in good financial standing.
Next, ask for references on your application, preferably from former landlords. Most landlords will happily let you know if their tenants were good about making on-time payments or were difficult in other ways.
When it comes to your lease, don't try to write it from scratch. There are several templates available online. Try to find one that covers most applicable laws in your area, then hire a lawyer to read over your lease and make any pertinent changes.
Finally, be sure to collect a security deposit or first and last month’s rent. This will give you some protection if your tenant stops paying or causes costly damages in the building.
Know your legal limits
If you've ever rented before, odds are there were a few things you wish your landlord did differently. Before beginning this endeavor of becoming a landlord, make sure you're doing it by the book.
Find the laws for your state and city regarding landlord/tenant requirements. Know when you can enter the apartment and how long of an advanced notice is required to do any work in the apartment.
Before sending any complaints or notices to your tenant, make sure you are in the right, legally speaking and can back up your claims with evidence. To do so, you'll need to practice rigorous bookkeeping. Document and keep copies of each payment you receive and all of the money you spend on repairs and maintenance. These records can help you should you ever need to prove yourself in a court of law.
Finally, be respectful and courteous with your tenants. Going out of your way to be helpful will often save you headaches in the long run. However, know when your leniency is being taken advantage of by tenants who are avoiding paying rent or abusing your property.
Although some families are more organized than others, most homes are plagued by at least a moderate amount of clutter.
While it may seem like only a minor annoyance, household clutter can have a major "ripple effect" on several aspects of your life. Disorganization and clutter can be insidious problems for homeowners to deal with because its impact is not always obvious.
When you stop and think about it, having a cluttered home can take a heavy toll on everything from your finances to your family relationships. Here are a few reasons to set aside some time, this month, to begin decluttering your home.
Time and Money: One of the most frustrating experiences in life is to try to find a misplaced tool, an important document, or anything you might need to complete a task, solve a problem, or meet a deadline. When you add up the hours you and your family spend on searching for items that are stuffed in drawers or buried in closets, it becomes increasing clear why everyone's productivity is down and stress levels are up. You may have also noticed that you're spending money on personal and household supplies that you already have somewhere in the house.
If you've lived in your home for more than a few years, you've probably accumulated stacks of clutter in every imaginable storage space. Three ways to drastically reduce the amount of clutter in your home in a relatively short period of time is to either sell, donate, or throw away things you no longer need. The first step, of course, is to sort through your belongings to separate what's useful from what's just taking up valuable space.
Although organizing a garage sale can be a time-consuming activity, the benefits can far outweigh the time and effort involved. Preparing for a garage sale not only results in finding valuable things you forgot you even had, but your home will end up feeling cleaner, more spacious, and more welcoming. As long as you don't hold a garage sale every year, it can be a fun and profitable family activity.
Another alternative to storing things at home that you no longer need or want is to donate them to a charitable organization, such as The Salvation Army. Churches, veterans groups, and other community organizations often accept donations of clothing, furniture, electronics, appliances, and other household items. Making a few trips to nearby clothing collection bins is another way to unclutter your closets and pass along useful things you no longer need.
One type of clutter you can neither sell nor give away is "junk." If you have enough of it, you might consider renting a dumpster or calling a reputable, reasonably priced junk hauling service. Regardless of the method you use to get rid of things you no longer want, you'll be amazed at how energizing it can be to restore order, cleanliness, and a sense of pride to your living space!