Renting: The First Step Towards Home Ownership

Buying a home is a goal that many people have. In the USA alone, over 5 million homes are bought and sold annually. These homes come in all different shapes, sizes and price ranges. However, before you rush and buy a home, it is good to rent first. Renting offers a lot of flexibility and is a logical first choice for someone.

Not only is buying a home very expensive, but there are numerous things you need to think about and consider beforehand. Instead of rushing into it and making a mistake, it’s a good idea to rent first and take your time with the purchasing decision. With that in mind, this blog post is going to look at a few reasons why renting is the first step towards home ownership.

Hand with keys

Let’s You Try Before You Buy

Renting is the perfect opportunity to essentially try living on your own before you tie yourself down to a home. In addition to making sure you actually are ready to live on your own and buy a home, renting allows you to find out if the city, town or neighborhood is really right for you. If you buy a home in a city you think you like, only to find out there is nothing there for you, you can’t just wait until your lease is up and leave.

You will be stuck there for decades unless you sell or rent out the home. Both of which can take a lot of time, work and money. Finding places to rent in your area is incredibly simple, especially if you use a site like to find available rentals in your city. As a result, trying out any area you want by renting is simple and will save you from buying in the wrong place.


Train Yourself to be a Homeowner

If you have only lived with your family, there is a good chance you haven’t always been as responsible as you should. Your costs were likely low and if you screwed up, the consequences weren’t likely that dire. If you have your own place and are responsible for it, there are major consequences if you can’t pay your bills or mortgage.
Renting gives you a chance to essentially find out what it’s like to have more responsibility, without quite being fully exposed to it. For example, when you rent a place, you will have bills to pay, but likely won’t be responsible for things like repairs. It gives you a taste of what it’s like to own a home, without exposing you to the same costs and risks.
By renting first, you give yourself time to work on your budgeting, get your credit score right, and even learn how much you can afford to spend. Essentially, renting can train you on what it’s like to be a homeowner.

Allows You to Take Time to Find the Right Home

If you are moving out of your families home and immediately want to buy a home, there can be a lot of pressure to do it quickly. However, a home search isn’t something that you want to rush. You need to take time and make an informed decision.
By renting, you will have a couple of months to really put time into what you want out of a home, and what things you don’t. Sure, it will cost you money to rent. But a few months of rent is nothing compared to what you might lose if you end up buying the wrong home and being stuck there for decades. Big decisions should have a lot of time put into them, and buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make.

Person with a laptop


In conclusion, renting is a great first step towards home ownership. We hope this article has been able to show you why.

What The Future Brings: The Impact of Technology on Commercial Real Estate

Technological, social, and economic challenges of the future will change the way people live, work, and shop. These changes can significantly impact today’s climate, not just in residential, but in the commercial real estate sector as well and its portion of the value chain. The ultimate question is who will profit and who will lose money in the future world of commercial real estate. 

What can we expect?

The present evolution of technologies towards digitization and automation will cause massive changes within the industry. The job profiles that exist today will change, along with the clients’ demands on how the job is executed. There will be an increase of redundant low-skilled, blue-collar workers while, white-collar jobs will be more driven by data, performed remotely, which will impact the need for office spaces, as well as functional office design and furnishings. These developments promise to reshape the commercial real estate environment. 


The future is mobile

With autonomous cars just around the corner, we can expect major changes to the ways cities are built and developed. Property managers will have to evaluate how they use space. The decreased need for parking spaces both on and off the street will free up large areas for development. In some cities, landlords are converting parking space into commercial real estate, taking advantage of the premium location and street-level access. The new space requirements will include re-configured parking solutions for driverless cars and warehouses for automated loading machines. 

Tenant health and wellness

As global environmental concerns are gaining momentum, people are more concerned about the impact of commercial spaces on their health and wellness. A global 2016 survey by Deloitte that targeted the Millennial population showed that young professionals consider employee well-being as one of the most important qualities of a workplace. To meet these demands, companies are considering how to improve the health and well-being of their commercial tenants and residents. The overall prediction is that commercial properties that don’t meet the needs of modern tenants won’t see modern tenants. The survey analysis recommends that real estate companies should include tenants in decision-making, so they can better understand design elements that cater to health and wellness. 

Rise of smart energy products

With the UN predictions that the world population will reach 9.7 billion in 2050, over 66% will live and work in cities. As a consequence, commercial places will have to become increasingly urbanized with unprecedented integration of smart technologies, drones, autonomous vehicles, and automated services. The modern urban architecture will rely heavily on smart energy products like industrial lighting solutions shown here, as well as on data and technology to make life more comfortable. As a result, the cost of both commercial and residential real estate is expected to rise in those districts.

3D printing

We won’t have to wait long before builders are able to print entire floors with immense time savings. In China and Dubai, there are already low-rise commercial properties being developed with 3D printing, and the builders are reporting construction time reduced by 70% and cost by 80%. With its huge implications for construction, 3D printing is both a threat to traditional warehousing, as less space will be required, but also an opportunity for retailers to respond on-demand. 

Event-driven shopping

The rapid increase of online shopping will further reduce demand for retail real estate assets, with more demand for just-in-time logistics. Amazon is already experimenting with drone delivery service, claiming it’s much safer and faster than going through couriers or postal service. This way, logistics centers could be located at the periphery, freeing more space in the city center. Upper-end high street miles will still exist, primarily through the leisure PR function, but smaller retail businesses in decentralized regions will suffer the heaviest blow. To meet the demands of new customers and build interest, shopping malls will need to resort to more event-driven concepts that emphasize on experience rather than shopping. 


Fading relevance of real estate brokers

As individual market players in the real estate arena, real estate brokers will become increasingly redundant due to market transparency policies and automated rental negotiations between owners and lessees. Real estate transactions will be based on technologies like blockchain, which eliminates the need for the middle-man. On the other hand, the government won’t miss an opportunity to benefit from new developments through new tax models, such as a tax for automation. Part of this income will be much needed for mitigating social problems due to increased unemployment, which is a result of automated processes. Although the future banks will certainly take advantage of the high degree of debt financing for real estate projects, crowdfunding platforms will take their share as strong competitors to traditional banking. 

The word ‘smart’ has changed slightly in meaning over the last decade, as new technologies granted us even more features that help us manage our lives. The increasing automation of running the business will bring profound changes in the commercial real estate sector, that go far beyond smart buildings and shared workspaces.

How The Car You Drive Can Impact Your Real-Estate Business

Just as a home’s curb appeal and exterior make the initial impression on home buyers, the real estate agent’s car is usually the first thing buyers see when meeting for the first time. If you are a realtor, your car can have a strong impact on your client’s perception of your work and capabilities, but also to your attention to detail and personality. Keeping your business car in the top conditions whether you need it to reach remote properties on time or fill in the papers on the roadshows clients that you’re handling the situation. 

Initial considerations

For many realtors, the car is an extension of their office, and conversely an extension of their client relation policy. The personality of the car needs to make the client feel safe and comfortable. A sporty Corvette, especially a visibly used one, can give off a shady realtor who’s mainly interested in flipping properties for profit. Instead, look for a car that breathes confidence and success without being pretentious. Perhaps a European mini-van in a high trim level, or a comfy BMW 5-Series estate. Some agents view their cars as mobile billboards, helping to spread the word wherever they go. If the nature of your office calls for driving all day long in the city, you should consider a smaller and more convenient smart car which is comfortable to use in the city rush, but also capable of quickly reaching out-of-town clients. 

How The Car You Drive Can Impact Your Real-Estate Business 1

What car?

If your clients are mostly upscale property owners, nothing less than pure luxury, strength, and comfort would convince them that you’re the one for the job. A large sedan like Mercedes Benz S550 as well as several alternatives would be just fine. On the contrary, some agents put a lot of effort into advertising themselves as environmentally conscious entrepreneurs, choosing a Tesla to show their commitment to the latest trends. A Range Rover Sport is the perfect car for an agent who’s mostly handling business clients. It’s roomy, comfortable, and has lots of glass, so clients can better survey the neighborhood they want to invest in. Such a thoroughbred SUV also comes handy in harsh winters, when mobility often means the difference between success and failure. 

Keeping it client-friendly

It goes without saying that the car in which you drive the clients around, looking for properties, needs to be spotlessly clean. As a complimentary service, keep some water bottles and a few packs of snacks in the air-conditioned storage if the property hunting draws on. You can equip it with an extra iPad for clients to use, and load it with info on properties you’re listing. You should also consider the comfort of the ride and safety, which means you should keep your tyres in top shape. If the tread depth has worn off past the tread wear indicators, you should replace them with a new set. It shouldn’t set you back a lot, especial now since many online vendors offer promotions on new tyres with cashback and buy 3 get 4 deals. Finally, keep an extra USB free, so clients can charge their phones and turn the radio down so you and the client can talk. 

When to replace the car

As a rule of thumb for a business that relies on the direct agent to client contact, you should replace your vehicle every three years. Not only would you be sure that your car will always be reliable, but it also sends a powerful message to your clients – that your business is growing as a result of your professional skills. Also, technology is changing quickly and if you spend a lot of time in your car, you need the latest style and comfort experience for your clients. You shouldn’t splurge on a premium category every time, but having a well-packed quality car is an indicator of your success as a real estate agent. 

How The Car You Drive Can Impact Your Real-Estate Business

Pragmatic and secure

Visual impact aside, your vehicle should provide a sense of security, which then translates to you offering reliable services and working in the client’s interest. Driving a car that is known as unsafe can potential let you down in the client’s eyes, telling them that you don’t care about your own safety either. So, make sure to drive a car that not only feels like a tank but has the NCAP ratings to back it up. Besides, the vehicle you drive your clients around needs to be practical, with enough space for clients od all sorts, couples, families even. Driving a practical and functional vehicle indicated dedicated to your business practices and keep the things real. 

Not unlike the manicured lawn, freshly painted siding, and replanted flower beds speak of the house and the owners, the realtor’s car speaks volumes about them and the way they run their business. Whether you’re a seasoned agent or a rising star, you need a vehicle that evokes success and professionalism on one side and pragmatism and care for the client on the other.

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

There is an old adage that encourages us to bloom wherever we are planted. If you are perusing for a new home, one of the top considerations is what type of neighborhood you want. reports that the average cost for a home in the United States was $187,000 in 2016. For that kind of money, you probably want to be particular where you settle. While you will never find a location that will satisfy every point on your checklist, you can get pretty close to it. You want a neighborhood that will complement your family’s style of living. Here are some common neighborhood types to consider:


Downtown (Urban Neighborhoods)

If you crave the lights and action of the big city, then an urban dwelling is for you. Downtown is the city’s epicenter, where most of the shops, restaurants, and attractions are. Typically, these neighborhoods are comprised of older apartments and single family homes. Homebuyers who want new property may find condominiums and luxurious lofts that are converted from vintage warehouses and other structures. Your neighbors will usually be of a diverse ethnicity with a range between low and middle incomes. Depending on the property you choose, downtown housing can be affordable. It is a healthy mix of modest to high-end dwellings. These neighborhoods are popular with seniors and young professionals. The downside of urban neighborhoods is a higher rate of crime and a larger population of drifters.


New Development Urban Neighborhoods

There are business areas being built up on the outskirts of the city center. These neighborhoods are close enough to downtown to enjoy its amenities, yet far enough to take advantages of the new businesses in the area. Homebuyers who have a panache for reconstruction can often find great bargains on fixer-uppers in these neighborhoods. Many of the house flipping shows that you enjoy take place in new development. There are a variety of home styles, including ranch, shotgun, or two-story. A large number of the residents are seniors who have lived in the neighborhood for decades. Some homeowners may be single divorced people or immigrants. Since the whole area is being developed, you will have to get used to the sight and noises of construction.

Family Cul-De-Sacs

According to reports from the 2010 US Census, a little over 20% of single family homes have married couples with children. The quintessential cul-de-sac neighborhood is found in new developments and the suburbs. These are the iconic neighborhoods that ring with the laughter of children. It is home to the busy couples who efficiently juggle careers and family. You will see the soccer moms hop in their minivans to take their children to yet another sporting practice. Homeowners can expect large single family homes and new builds. When you see the neatly manicured lawns and all the children riding their bicycles down the sidewalk, you are instantly transported to earlier decades. There will be families enjoying their backyard pools or enjoying a yoga session. Cul-de-sacs are not ideal for single people, childless couples, or those who want to bask in the lights of the metropolitan center.

Rural Neighborhoods

Some of the most prominent buzzwords in American lifestyle are homesteading and “living off the grid.”  The number of families who are taking this earth-friendly route is increasing every year. If you have always wanted your own little plot in the country, you may consider buying a home in a rural neighborhood. When you think of these places, your mind wanders to visions of lush vegetable gardens, simple country homes, and wondering livestock. Often times, these homes are miles away from their closest neighbors. While rural living used to be reserved for humble incomes and generational farms, it now attracts young couples who are eager to live off the land like our ancestors. You can often find vintage farm houses for good prices that need a little TLC. Your family will feel closer to nature and can enjoy all it has to offer.

Whether you choose a swank condo downtown or a little farmhouse in the clearing of the woods, you can find a rich variety of neighborhoods in which to live. Your real estate professional can help you find what you want in the right location. When you settle into your new place, every day can be a wonderful day in the neighborhood.


3 Great Locations For A Winter Cabin

A winter cabin provides you with a place to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. Rural America offers many small towns with the conveniences of a bigger city as well as the solitude and quiet that you desire. When preparing to build a winter cabin, consider one of these three top communities.

Black Mountain, North Carolina

Black Mountain, North Carolina, was ranked as the best place to build a log cabin by Log Cabin Homes Magazine in 2008. As the home of about 7,700 people, Black Mountain is situated just 11 miles from Asheville. If you need supplies or are looking for a night out on the town, this makes Black Mountain a convenient place to build your cabin. Black Mountain is in the Great Smoky National Mountains and offers proximity to the Appalachian hiking trails.

The Black Mountain Center for the Arts is a premier destination for Appalachian culture. You can stop in and take a class on how to turn fleece fabric into a warm blanket for snuggling near the fireplace in your winter cabin. The area also hosts many small festivals, such as the Circle of Lights during the wintertime. Land prices are affordable, and the city provides basic services such as septic and electricity even out on the remote stretches of roads.

Houghton, Michigan

Houghton, Michigan, is the largest city in Copper County and is the county seat of Houghton County. Split across these two counties, the city has an estimated population of 7,708 as of the July, 2010 U.S. Census. Houghton is located on Michigan’s Keewenaw Peninsula, which juts into Lake Superior. This mostly rural area is a delight for anyone who enjoys nature. Houghton is recognized as one of the premier “Winter Cities” in the United States. The area receives an average of 218 inches of snow each year and has an average of 101 days with below-freezing high temperatures.

Building a winter cabin in or around Houghton affords you the opportunity to go ice fishing, skating or snowshoeing. Other popular winter sports such as skiing are offered at a wide variety of resorts. Hunters can also enjoy the large herds of deer living in the wooded areas. Houghton is consistently ranked as one of the best 100 small towns to live in. Houghton also offers a regional airport for easy access to larger cities in the area, such as Green Bay, Wisconsin and Duluth, Minnesota.

Bemidji, Minnesota

Bemidji, Minnesota, is the biggest city between Grand Forks, North Dakota and Duluth, Minnesota. The community is home to about 14,594 people as of the 2015 U.S. Census estimates. Bemidji is known for its iconic statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe, the blue ox. The legend of Paul Bunyan the logger is a testament to how well the area is suited to building a winter cabin.

There are many secluded areas to build your winter cabin near Bemidji, such as near Lake Bemidji State Park. The park offers opportunities for cross-country skiing, sledding, snowmobiling and other sports. You will also be able to make the short drive to the Mississippi River’s headwaters. During the wintertime, you can spot deer, elk, wolves and other wildlife. Known both as the first city on the Mississippi River and as the curling capital of the United States, Bemidji features 500 miles of snowmobiling trails and 99 miles of cross-country skiing trails.

Each of these areas offers spectacular natural areas, plenty of spaces for winter sports and outdoor activities and modern conveniences to make your wintertime adventures more comfortable. All of these areas are affordable, allowing you to buy a few acres or more. These three great locations will allow you to achieve the dream of building your own winter cabin for weekends and vacations. These places will also be a joy to experience during other seasons of the year.