First-Time Buyer: Planning for the Total Cost of Buying a House

First-Time Buyer: Planning for the Total Cost of Buying a House

If you are at the same time excited and terrified at the prospects of purchasing your first house, don’t worry, you are not the only one. This is probably the largest financial venture you will undertake so it is natural to be a bit nervous and to wish to research everything in detail so you can feel comfortable as much as possible. With that in mind, here is a list of certain expenses you need to keep in mind when you are planning the budget for your first home.

Prepare for the down payment

Everyone who has purchased a house, vehicle or other more expensive asset had to prepare for the down payment. It represents a portion of your new house’s price which is paid upfront and it can go up to 20 percent of that sum. For instance, if the house costs $200,000, the down payment would be $40,000 and if you saved up that amount, that means that you would have to acquire another $160,000 through a bank loan or some other financial scheme. Both your savings and the manner you would obtain the rest of the sum is something you need to plan for in advance to make sure you come up with the optimal solution when it comes to monthly installments and the length of the payment period. 

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Keep in mind the house insurance

Taking out home and contents insurance is a small pre-purchase step which could mean a lot in case something happens. One of the most important features you should pay attention to is the 24/7 assistance, while others that could be of use include temporary accommodation in case the damage is substantial and counseling after a traumatic event. The insurance costs vary varies from property to property, and you can click here for home and contents insurance reviews to get more familiar with the conditions and choose the option which would suit you the most. Some things you need to ensure your new home and belongings against are fire, earthquake, storm, flood, and make sure you read the small print and to know exactly what is covered by the insurance.

Anticipate building inspection costs

Since you are buying a house for the first time, you probably don’t have much experience with assessing the offer and there is a reasonable fear among many people when they start looking for the first property that they might overpay for a place. This is why building inspection is a perfect manner to check the structural soundness so you don’t pay too much for a house that is essentially better to be knocked down and built again. These inspections usually cost up to $600 which is not a big amount, considering that it gives you peace of mind regarding a long-term investment that is much larger.

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Don’t forget the moving expenses

In all the commotion regarding finding the perfect place and arranging the finances to purchase it, many people forget about moving. Since your belongings won’t magically appear in your new home, you need to take it very seriously, as well as the incurred expenses. Besides a lot of hard work related to decluttering, organizing items and cleaning the place, you will need packing supplies and a truck or a moving crew to transfer your things to the new place. Also, some people go for moving insurance, just to make sure they are safe if anything gets broken or damaged during a move, which is not impossible, having in mind the amount of (semi)fragile belongings that you might have. 

When you think you’ve found your dream house, before saying ‘I do’ to it, sit and think about all the expenses and plan your budget well so you can make sure that you having everything under control. That is the only manner you will be able to truly enjoy your new house and to consider it ‘home sweet home’.

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Make Your Goals Meet Finances: 5 Simple Ways to Invest in Real Estate

Make Your Goals Meet Finances: 5 Simple Ways to Invest in Real Estate

If you think that only affluent individuals invest in real estate, you cannot be farther from the truth. The prospects of potentially hefty earnings attract people of different financial statuses and all walks of life and the best part is – they are all welcome. 

Anyone can join the real estate business since there are different ways to join the game and not just how you think big real estate companies operate. To help you find the most suitable method, here are a few simple ways to achieve success in the real estate arena.

Go with a rent-to-own agreement

Rent-to-own is an interesting manner of acquiring a property you like at a more convenient moment. You rent a place and sign an agreement that after a predetermined period of time you will purchase that property. As agreed, a percentage of those monthly installments become a down payment on a mortgage. This is especially suitable for those who need time to improve their credit score so they can use that predetermined period to do that. Other benefits include that you agree on the price at that point so any subsequent rise in the price of real estate properties will not affect your agreement, as well as having the opportunity to get to know the neighborhood and both bad and good sides of the house before you purchase it. 

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Purchase a vacation rental

Many people dream of owning a property on the seaside so they can rest there during the summer. And even more dream about renting the said vacation property and earning from it. The idea is simple: you purchase a property at a tourist-infected location and rent it. However, you might want a vacation rental at some luxurious destination but that can be costly. So, when choosing the location, you need to account for the potential income in the future and how you would advertise the place. For instance, you might choose a trusted online platform such as Airbnb. You can create a profile, post property pictures and communicate with tourists via this platform and you also need to take into account the service fee which is deducted each time a booking is completed.

Transform a charming fixer-upper and sell it

Perhaps the most traditional real estate investment is purchasing a property under market value, fixing it up and selling it at a higher price, and this process is called flipping houses. However, for somebody who hasn’t got much experience, it can be quite tricky to assess which of the properties is worth investing in since the cost of fixing it might surpass its value. In this case, you might want to consult with an experienced real estate consulting firm because they can help you to make the optimal choice based on customized reports as well as offer legal advice during the purchase procedure. This step by step service might also include performing a detailed property inspection and provide you with various interior design ideas so that your fixer-upper can reach a good price. 

Consider real estate investment trusts

To invest in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), you don’t need to purchase a property. REITs are companies that invest the majority of the money into real estate and their profit depends on it. You buy shares at a REIT which means you are not in charge of collecting rent or emergency repairs – you don’t need to have any contact with the tenants whatsoever. As a shareholder, you need to know that the income comes in the form of dividends. This type of investment offers more opportunity for portfolio diversification because any major repair of one of the properties you rent out can be detrimental to your budget. If you find this strategy interesting, you should look into thriving REITs and purchase shares with them.

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Test your resourcefulness with wholesaling 

This type of real estate investment doesn’t involve that you invest anything or purchase a property which makes it appealing to many. Wholesaling a house means that you are contracting a seller that has an undervalued house on the market and then quickly selling it at a higher price than they asked for it. Your profit comes from the difference in the prices. However, wholesaling demands a lot of patience and different skills because it is neither easy to find sellers who are eager to sell a distressed property nor is it easy to find an interested party quickly. Although it is not for everybody, the end profit can be quite lucrative. 

And now that you know that there are many types of real estate investment, it is time to opt for one that suits you and sail on the tides of real estate success!

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Open Floor Concept: Great Solution for Your Rental Property

Open Floor Concept: Great Solution for Your Rental Property

Open-plan home designs are becoming trendy again, so why not use the available space in your rental to make it more attractive for prospective tenants. Whether you’re aiming for a home office within a living room, or looking to merge the kitchen with the dining area, these spaces need to be well-designed to be able to take the best of both spaces. Smart decorating and styling ideas can make the spaces look separate but seamlessly integrated, which is much less complicated than it sounds. Check out these eight tips for maximizing the open floor potential in your rental property.

Insist on symmetry

One way to give character to expansive space is to create a balanced look with larger furniture pieces. Make double the sofas for the seating area and counterweight them with a big dining table and a matching set of chairs, and the resulting symmetry will instantly bring order to the room. Use this setup as the frame on which to add moments of contrast like mismatched storage trunks or groupings of wall art. 

Expand practical spaces

Open floor kitchens modern homes are often designed to be gathering spots, but instead of a classic kitchen/dining arrangement, consider a more eclectic approach by turning a kitchen island into an everyday dining surface with barstools, while keeping the seating area with heavy sofas and chairs right next to it. Such a space that capitalizes on everyday comfort and lounging is definitely going to make an impression on potential tenants. 

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Regulate foot traffic

By smart furniture arrangements, you can create specific stations within the larger space of your open plan area, and make the room feel more navigable. A big single room can feel directionless for people used to more compartmentalized dwellings with a central hallway and side rooms, while a huge room with dedicated ‘isles’ for conversation, comfort, eating, working, and preparing food is much more approachable. Between these stations, make sure there’s a clear path wide enough room for two people to pass by one another. 

Plan for cozy corners

An open floor plan allows you a lot of creative freedom to create distinct areas that your tenants can use for specific purposes. If you don’t know where to start, look to the corners for inspiration. For example, a double wall of windows can make for a perfect reading nook heavy with lush potted greenery, while the opposite corner can become an intimate dining nook. To prevent those opposing nooks from feeling distinctly different, or you can create a more cohesive look through eh use of blue, white or natural gamut that spans both areas. 

Choose consistent flooring

Rule number one for open floor rooms in rental properties is to use as few floor types as possible. Mixing different types like hardwood and vinyl in the same room chops it into smaller parts, roughly breaking the unity of the space. Consistency, on the other hand, doesn’t mean that the entire room should look exactly the same. By choosing quality flooring products of different accents, you can subtly distinguish different parts of the room. As materials are concerned, the best choices for rentals are durable floor types that can withstand a lot of traffic, such as teak hardwood or vinyl.  

Try monochromatic color scheme

Sticking to a monochromatic color scheme is probably the safest option for both rental properties and open concept homes. Pick a color and use it in different shades and tones throughout the space. Make sure to include some patterns as well. Monochromatic decors are always welcoming for white or black details, but also try to add some interest with an accent color. For example, a monochromatic blue color scheme always benefits from a few splashes of rich red or orange. 

Employ wood designs

Although heavy furniture pieces such as big upholstery and a banquet-sized table will make use of an open floor plan beautifully, there’s a lot of charm in wood pieces with slender silhouettes, as well. Tailored mid-century-inspired wood designs can infuse the space with a refreshing modern appeal while maintaining the whole room weightless. Besides, the slim designs allow for plenty of walk-around space. 

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Create a modern great room

Take inspiration from elegant and sophisticated great rooms with soaring ceilings and tall windows, which were used for open living and dining in past centuries. In the latest trend of reviving baroque interior décor, attract quality tenants of style by creating a great room with a modern sensibility. Instead of going overboard with patterns, rich leathers, and deep colors, give it a try with a pair of simple and bright sofas, gold and crystal accents, and minimalist abstract art that acts as a bridge between the seating and dining area. 

Open-plan homes enhance the feel of a space, boost social interactions, and improve the efficiency of usable space, so it shouldn’t surprise why such rental properties are in high demand with both families and young couples. As the concept evolves, less and less interior designers speak of it as a trend but rather an opportunity that can be exploited with great success.

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4 Excellent Ways to Boost The Value Of Your Property By Improving Its Curb Appeal

4 Excellent Ways to Boost The Value Of Your Property By Improving Its Curb Appeal

Many homeowners and even real estate agents looking to flip a property tend to focus solely on the interior design of a house or apartment. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with sprucing up your interior and decorating it for comfort and beauty, it’s important to remember that the value of your property and its overall aesthetic appeal will be largely influenced by its curb appeal. 

Whether you’re trying to restore your property to its former shining glory or if you’re trying to upgrade it to maximize its value in the real estate market, the curb appeal will have a leading role to play. With that in mind, here are the four excellent ways you can improve the curb appeal to breathe new life into your home. 

Start some ways away from the house

Curb appeal is not just about the quality of the paint job on the porch, or how beautiful your front garden is – it’s also about those distant elements you never even think about. You see, curb appeal starts some ways away from your property, at the furthest point from which people can see your house. This is usually, you guessed it, the curb at the far end of the street. This is where you need to start.

Inspect this area closely and look for any unsightly elements that might be hindering the aesthetic appeal of your property. Move the trashcans somewhere else, and look for any irregularities in the pavement such as potholes. Now work your way slowly towards the house and fix everything that needs fixing before you move on to the property itself.

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Invest in some beautiful landscaping

Landscaping is one of the best and most effective ways to elevate the aesthetic appeal of your home’s exterior, and an excellent way to increase its market value at that. However, it’s not just about maintaining a tidy lawn or removing wild shrubbery on occasion; no, landscaping encompasses the calculated use of natural elements to frame the design of the entire property.

Some of the best low-maintenance design ideas for your garden and landscape, in general, include high-rise plants, trees, artificial grass, water features and ornaments, beautiful rockery, stepping stones, and more. All of these elements should work together to frame the design and lead the visitor on a beautiful path towards the porch and the house itself.

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Join the LED revolution

The way you light your home’s exterior can make or break the entire aesthetic design of the property. But beyond pure aesthetics, outdoor lighting needs to be functional, as these features need to last a long time. This is why the LED industry has grown so much in the US in recent years, and across the globe as well. In Australia, for example, electricians specialize in outdoor lighting that boosts curb appeal aesthetics and functionality.

Down Under, homeowners spend a lot of time under the stars, on the front porch or enjoying quality time with their family on the front lawn in the evening, hence the need for an experienced electrician from Inner West to design the external lighting scheme using LED lights to illuminate the entire property and at the same time accentuate key features. Follow the same mindset and invest in LED lights yourself, and don’t forget to illuminate everything from the walkway to the front porch and all other outdoor areas on your property.

Rejuvenate the exterior with new paint

And finally, there’s nothing quite as refreshing and rewarding as the look of a fresh coat of paint adorning the exterior of your home. Repainting the walls and other features such as the front porch and the fence can help you elevate the value of the property in an affordable way, but most importantly, make the property feel more inviting and homier as well.

Depending on the size of the house and the scope of work in general, it shouldn’t take you more than a weekend to repaint the walls, the window frames, the porch, and fence. While you’re at it, be sure to upgrade all of the hardware and don’t forget to replace any corroded wood you might find – it will prolong the lifespan of the element and elevate the aesthetics in the process.

Final thoughts

The curb appeal is the crucial factor that will either deter or invite homebuyers to check out a property. What’s more, the curb appeal of your home has the power to influence your mindset and shape your perception significantly, making you feel positive as you’re approaching the front door. Be sure to tend to these quick-and-easy tips, and you will have created a beautiful curb appeal that will make your home that much more valuable.

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Steps to Home Staging Your Property for a Millennial Buyer

Steps to Home Staging Your Property for a Millennial Buyer

If you are planning to put your home on sale in the near future, chances are that your prospective buyer will be a Millennial. This working-age generation is currently between 23 and 38 years old and ready to choose and settle in a property and this is where your offer steps into the picture.

Therefore, to reach a fair price for your lovely home and to make sure that it goes into the hands of people who will take care of it, you need to learn as much as you can about millennial tastes. With that in mind, here are 4 steps that will help you stage the house in a manner appealing for a typical millennial.

Work on the curb appeal

Most buyers know from the first moment they see a house whether they like it – a great interior may sway them to change their opinion, however, this first impression is essential for their decision-making process. This means that you have to trim the grass and any bushes that you have in front of the house, to make it presentable. Also, make sure that the driveway and everything else is clean since almost every millennial dislike messy views. Another thing to consider is to change your front door because this generation takes pride in being eco-friendly while old doors with their many cracks and holes are not so energy-saving.

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Tidy everything up

As mentioned, clutter and uncleanness is not something that millennials can stand. They prefer minimalism and everything having its place in the house so a dusty collection of old memorabilia will not be attractive to them. The first piece of advice is to declutter the rooms so they seem as if they only have essentials when it comes to furniture and decoration. It may seem like an undertaking but it really doesn’t have to be time-consuming and it will also be useful to cut down the number of things you would be transferred to the other home you will be living. The second piece of advice is to scrub everything clean since simple and clean is what millennials look for. 

Pay attention to the room layout 

Fragile figurines and expensive furniture that is a hassle to clean do not make up a room display approved by millennials. Their love for the visual simplicity and open spaces is no secret so providing them with the feeling of open space could be a perfect idea. If a renovation project is not something your budget can sustain, you can achieve a similar impression by getting rid of chunky furniture and leaving more free space. Another thing which might tip the scale to your advantage is a pet-friendly rug because this generation has taken the love for animals to a whole new level. Besides being beautiful, these rugs are durable and can stand being vacuumed daily, as well as a bit peed and nibbled on by the little groomed angels.

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Transform the spare room into an office

If you have a spare room you are using as storage space, you might want to put it to another use. Millennials often work from home or run their own business, so the idea of a house already having a home office would be pleasing. The trickiest thing about turning your storage room into an office space is getting rid of all those things you don’t need. Once you are done with that, all you need to do is set up a table and a chair next to the window and make sure they have enough power sockets for their many gadgets. Then you can place your laptop on the table and gingerly arrange some pens, notes and a coffee mug, to look as though you just left the table. This will certainly leave a strong impression and make them decide on your house.

The perfect starting point with staging your house for a millennial buyer is thinking from the environmentally responsible perspective. A messy driveway with garbage everywhere and rooms filled with unnecessary things are in no manner eco-friendly so decluttering and cleaning everything are the first steps to boosting the appeal of your home.

In line with thinking green, millennials will not find luxurious decorations attractive because they always aim for simplicity. So, it is best to put away your fragile expensive trinkets and leave the bare essentials and a lot of free space because too many things can make the room be stifling. If you sprinkle your house with thoughtful elements such as office space and pet-friendly additions, you will be on your way to winning over their hearts.

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Protect Your Rental: Tips to Keep Your Rental Property Safe

Protect Your Rental: Tips to Keep Your Rental Property Safe

A rental landlord’s obligations don’t end with providing a home for your tenants and picking up the rent each month. Their welfare, as well as the safety of their belongings, is partly your responsibility, not to mention your rental’s security. 

You need to make sure you put into effect all necessary measurements against burglary and break-ins. Providing a space where your tenants feel safe will probably result in them settling there for a longer period. Here are a few tips on how to keep the burglars at bay and your tenants satisfied.

Fix what needs to be fixed

Take a turn around the house and analyze the potential risks – are there any places that can give burglars easy access? If you know that the window latch in your bedroom is faulty, don’t wait another minute to replace it. Are there any bushes which can provide good cover for an uninvited guest? There are things we know that ought to be dealt with but somehow, we get used to them and forget that the particular state is not common. However, ignoring the possible risks is careless, so it is vital to do all that we can to ensure the safety of your rental and your tenants as well. 

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Add more light

Common sense tells us that a well-lit house is not an eligible target for a thief. Without the cover of darkness to hide their criminal activity, they will not be able to sneak up on your tenants. So, investing in additional outdoor lighting is probably one of the most practical ideas to provide a clear view of what is going on around your house. Motion-sensor lights are bound to scare off any unwanted visitors, and if the tenants aren’t fast asleep, it will also be a type of an alarm for them that allows them to know that someone is prowling around the house.

Take out an insurance policy

If you want to be completely certain that everything will be taken care of in the case of some event, you can opt for an insurance policy. However, mind you, you need to read the small print to know for sure what the policy covers. To be safe, always choose more comprehensive policies, such as Youi home cover landlord insurance, which encompasses natural disasters as well as damage caused by people. It even covers the content of the property, so you can be at peace even if your keys get stolen or any furniture or furnishings are damaged due to the insured event.

Secure doors and windows

For better security, equip your door with a double-cylinder deadbolt, especially if your doors have glass panels or windows that are close by. This kind of deadbolt cannot be opened from the inside, so it won’t be easy for a burglar to break the glass and reach inside. As for the windows, you can go with locks, which will probably make the perpetrator re-think whether to attempt to get in by breaking the window. Naturally, if you had an unpleasant situation and you had to evict the tenants, don’t forget to change the locks, just in case. 

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Keep private

Curtains and blinds are not there just to protect you from the sunlight. They also serve as protection from unwanted attention, so advise your tenants to keep the curtains drawn, especially when they are not at home. When the property is not being rented, it is advisable you keep the blinds down. Shielding your privacy in this manner will prevent the burglars from spotting any valuable items that you or your tenants might keep in the house. Also, don’t disregard gossip: if you have any valuables in your rental property, don’t inform the neighbors since you never know who that information may reach.

Renting your real estate can be quite a profitable scheme but it is also a responsible one. Every landlord wishes to have a long-term relationship with their tenants – nobody wants to have shady people marching through the house every month or so. 

In order to achieve this rapport, you need to communicate openly but also to ensure their safety. This includes securing doors and windows, installing external motion-sensor lights, and also taking out an insurance policy. By protecting your rental property, you are protecting your tenants and your relationship with them.

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