How To Protect Your Home While It’s On the Market

July 30, 2014

homeYou’ve finally decided that you’re ready to list your home.  You’ve cleaned, trimmed your trees and hedges, planted new flowers, updated the paint where needed and you’re ready to get busy showing your home.  The one thing that the majority of homeowners share is the fear of leaving behind all of their prized possessions when they have a showing or open house.

Dean Graziosi states that homes listed for sale can be targeted by thieves, lawsuits that someone filed as a result of an injury sustained during an open house or showing and more.  To help you feel more at ease when it comes time to show your home, I have listed some ways in which you can protect your home while it’s on the market.

If you do not plan on coming straight home after you have had a showing or an open house, you may want to ask one of your neighbors to stop by your home and make sure that all of the doors have been locked.  This will help protect your home from any unwanted visitors who may be aware that you are currently not home.  While a home is listed, neighbors become used to the fact that strangers are coming and going from your home, sharing with them when you are expecting a showing or when you will be away for a long period of time may help them be more aware of anything unusual.

The next way that you can protect your home while it’s on the market is to keep all of your expensive items out of sight.  If you have any high-priced collectibles, jewelry, or other expensive items Dean Graziosi recommends placing them in a safe or lockbox you may have in your home.  If you do not have a safe place to store these items in your home, you may want to consider renting a safety deposit box until you sell your home.  You should also be careful about the paperwork that you leave lying around your home during this time.  You should ensure that anything with your social security number or any other account information is filed away or shredded.

During the time that you have your home listed, someone may get hurt while visiting your property.  This is not something that every homeowner considers prior to listing their home, but accidents do happen.  In the case that someone is injured while on your property, they may hold you liable and decide to sue.

To help keep lawsuits at bay, you should ensure that any loose or uneven flooring has been properly repaired.  If you have your home listed during winter months, you need to remove all ice and snow from your steps and sidewalks.  If you have rugs on your floors, you may want to secure them with tape or non-slip padding.  You may also want to simply remove them entirely for the time being.  Make sure that all of your stairways and hallways are clear of clutter and make sure that your home is properly lit during any showings.

Is Architecture Important

July 22, 2014

ArchitectureAnyone who has ever searched for a home knows exactly how important the architecture of a home can be.  If you do not think ahead consider your current and future needs, you may end up buying a home that is either way too small or has rooms that tend to go unused.  Dean Graziosi recommends that homebuyers seriously consider all of their current space needs and how they may change in the future.  This will help ensure that the home you purchase will be sufficient for your current needs and possibly even your future needs as well.

Experts recommend that you consider how much space you will need for storage.  While many people believe that the more space you have available, the more stuff you will end up purchasing to fill that space, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.  The first area that you should focus on is the garage.  If you plan on parking more than one car in there you will then need to decide on an additional place to store your lawnmower and other yard tools that typically end up in the garage.  You should also consider your holiday decorations and patio furniture as well, when it comes to sufficient storage space.

On the interior of the home, you should consider areas where you will store all of your interior cleaning items.  Having space to store bulky vacuum cleaners, carpet shampooers, and other larger household items, can be extremely important to many homebuyers.  Dean Graziosi recommends that you find space for these items close to the rooms in which they will be used most often.  This will cut down on the amount hauling and carrying of these heavy items and make them easier to use.

If you are moving into a newly built home, one of the areas that you should definitely pay close attention to is the efficiency of the home.  This is one of the most common areas where homebuyers try to save money, but it may actually end up costing them money in the long run.  If you opt for a less expensive window or choose to use less insulation, you may end up paying more in energy bills later.  It is recommended that you choose the most energy efficient options as possible to help reduce your energy bills and reduce the amount of repairs you may have to make later.

One of the most common architecture related mistakes that homebuyers tend to make is planning for the now, rather than the later.  If you’re having a home built, you should take into consideration everything that you would like to have later and figure those items into the design now.  Waiting to add these options after your home is constructed may end up costing you more than it would now.  Carefully consider everything you would like to have in your home and add those options now.  You’ll be happy you did later down the line.

The Good and Bad of HOA’s

July 17, 2014

HOA good vs. badAre you interested in purchasing a home that has an HOA or have you recently purchased a home and are not sure of what exactly an HOA is responsible for?  In either case, I have some helpful information that will ensure you understand what an HOA is and how they can be both good and bad for homeowners.  According to Dean Graziosi, HOA’s were designed to help maintain the home values in the neighborhood by ensuring that homeowners take proper care of their homes, while also following the rules put in place by the HOA.

Homeowners are required to pay a monthly fee to their HOA.  In many cases, when homeowners are experiencing financial problems, this is often the first bill that they put aside.  When this happens, the HOA has the ability to place a lien on your home until the outstanding fees are paid in full.  So, if you are considering purchasing a home that is in an area overseen by an HOA, you should take this into consideration.  Below you will also find a list of some of the pros and cons associated with HOA’s.

Good


Bad

 

Mr. Graziosi states, that in some cases when the HOA is known for causing issues for residents, sales are often lost.  In some cases, HOA’s have also been known to file lawsuits against builders, which make the entire project unappealing to potential buyers who do not want to deal with the additional headache.  If you are considering purchasing a home in a neighborhood with an HOA, you should seriously consider everything that is involved.

Before you purchase a home in one of these neighborhoods, it is highly recommended that you ask for a copy of the HOA rules and carefully go over them.  You may find that there are restrictions you may not be comfortable with.  The better that you understand the good and bad of living in an HOA controlled neighborhood; the more prepared you will be to make an educated decision on your home purchase.

Tips for Choosing Siding for Your Home

July 8, 2014

siding Siding provides protection for your home and can help enhance the look of its exterior. There are many different types, all of which come at different costs. Dean Graziosi has provided information about some of the most common types to help you when making a decision.

Vinyl siding is one of the most popular types. It’s great for those who are on a budget. Best of all, it’s easy to maintain. It doesn’t rot, can’t be destroyed by termites, and is much less expensive than other choices. Vinyl siding is available in a variety of colors and installation is simple.

Fiber cement siding is another option. This type falls into the mid-range of pricing and is stronger than vinyl siding. It’s made up of a mixture of sand, cement, and cellulose. It is possible to imprint it with various designs and paint it in many different colors. It is also available in a wide variety of shingle sizes, thus allowing you to create a unique look. It’s more costly than vinyl siding, but is a great choice when compared with other types.

Higher end siding materials are available for significantly more money. These materials range widely from brick to stone and different choices in between. These are more permanent types and are typically more durable. It also lends itself to a very solid appearance.

Deciding to add siding to your home will provide several advantages for you as both a homeowner and potential seller in the future. First, it will help keep unwanted cold air out during the winter and hot air out during the summer. Likewise, it will keep the desired air in during the appropriate seasons. This will save on your energy bills and help protect your home while making it look great.

If you want to save even more money, you may choose to install your own siding. As an article posted on frontdoor.com advises, however, take caution when doing this. If you don’t know just how it is to be installed, you will wind up with a job done incorrectly.

Installing siding on your home may also raise its value. Potential home buyers look for energy conservation features, and siding is considered to be among the most important. You will be able to enjoy the benefits of siding while increasing the sellability of your home.

So how do you decide which type of siding to use? First establish how much you are able or willing to pay. Plan a budget. This will let you know how much you have to spend, and you can then decide whether or not to choose a less expensive type now, or keep saving up for one that will cost more but may last longer. You can read about more real estate topics by visiting Dean Graziosi’s blog.

The Pros and Cons of Owning a Pool

July 1, 2014

IMG_0968When it comes to selling your house, there are several factors that can help raise its value. Owning a pool has typically been viewed as a definite selling point, and is often a feature prospective home buyers are willing to pay extra for, especially if it is in-ground. As Dean Graziosi explains in this article, however, there are many pros and cons of pool ownership.
Some of them are outlined below.

Pros

Swimming pools provide a great means of exercise. This is great for both children and adults because it promotes physical fitness right in one’s own backyard. This type of exercise is also often recommended for those who have knee, leg, or other injuries.

Pools can provide hours of fun. Since in many climates, people can swim or relax in their pools from late spring to early fall and sometimes even beyond, there are several months out of the year when a swimming pool can be used. Even just relaxing in the water can be calming.

A swimming pool in the backyard can actually raise the value of a home. This is especially true if the pool is in-ground and if a deck and fence have been placed around it. Outbuildings for changing clothes and storing pool-related items will only increase the home value because the pool can serve as an entertainment area of sorts.

Cons

Pools can be costly to install. Even the above-ground variety can come at a high price. An above-ground pool is also difficult to install, especially if you plan to make it a more permanent fixture in the yard. Also, you will either be responsible for the installation yourself or will need to hire someone to do it for you. Hiring someone else will, of course, come at an added cost.

An in-ground pool may be installed by someone else thus taking the work off you, but it is quite a bit more costly than an above-ground option. What it may come down to is how badly you really want a pool and how much it will be used.

Pools are also expensive to maintain. Cleaning them takes time and effort, and is a process that must take place on a regular basis.

Swimming pools can also be dangerous for those who are unable to swim. Small children may also fall in and become injured or drown if unsupervised. That is why a fence around the pool is absolutely necessary and there should always be more than one person either in or by the pool at all times whenever it is being used. As an article posted on freshome.com denotes, a homeowner may actually be held responsible for accidents caused in the pool.

So is pool ownership worth it? That is up to the individual homeowner. If you are willing to shell out the cash and take on the responsibility that comes along with it, the answer may very well be yes. If, on the other hand, you do not want the responsibility or feel it really isn’t an affordable investment for you, perhaps you should look at other home improvement options. You can learn more about this and other real estate topics by visiting Dean Graziosi’s website.

Renovation Ideas for Landlords

June 24, 2014

469609889If you have recently entered the world of investment properties, you are now a landlord.  After the excitement of purchasing your first investment property wears off, you will soon realize all of the hard work that you have in store.  For many this may come as a surprise, but if you went into the process fully understanding what you were in for, you are likely prepared for the work.  Dean Graziosi explains that purchasing investment properties is a smart use for your money, but they require a lot of work and attention to achieve the results you are expecting.

Once you have closed on your property, you likely have ideas on how you are going to improve the property and get it all done in a timely manner.  It is important that once you enter the renovation phase that you properly budget both your time and money wisely.  It is important that you enter into this phase with a clear understanding that you will probably not be listing your property for rent in a few weeks like you had imagined.  After you begin work, you will likely run across some problems that you had not foreseen; this is common and happens to a lot of investment property owners.  But if you enter into the renovation phase with your eyes open, you will avoid any unnecessary stress and deal with each problem as it arises.

If you plan on having some of the work performed by a contractor, it is important that you not accept the first bid.  To ensure that you are receiving the best price possible for the work that you need to have done, you should get bids from multiple contractors.  The more work that is needed, the more bids you should get.  This can be somewhat of a tiresome and stressful endeavor, but you will likely be rewarded with a contractor who will do the work for a reasonable price.

One of the quickest and easiest jobs you can do is to have the paint and flooring replaced.  Unless you were lucky enough to purchase a property that was still in reasonably good shape, you will likely need to replace the flooring and apply some fresh paint.  The good news is that in many cases these are things that you can take care of yourself.  When choosing paint, Dean Graziosi recommends that you choose a color that is neutral and apply that paint to all of the walls and ceilings in the home.  This makes it easy to make touchups later down the road.  When you choose a flooring material for your property, you should choose something that is durable and will last.  This will limit the amount of times you need to replace the flooring after each tenant moves on.

What Does It Cost To Refinish Hardwood Floors

June 17, 2014

hardwoodIf you have recently purchased a new home or have lived in the same home for years, you may be curious as to how much it would cost to refinish your existing hardwood floors.  Dean Graziosi states that refinishing your floors is a great way to add beauty and warmth to your home while updating your existing surface.  Depending on where you live, the cost to refinish your floors can depend on a number of factors, such as, the type of wood the floor is made from, how big the area is, and the current condition of your floors.

What you may not be aware of is that your current floors may not need to be completely refinished.  In some cases, you may only need to have them recoated and screened, which involves applying a fresh coat of polyurethane by sanding the existing coating and applying a top-coat.  To help you determine which option is best for you, I have listed some helpful information to help you decide.

If you have properly maintained your existing hardwood floor over the years, you may not have to have them refinished.  A simple screen and recoat should be enough to give your floors a new, fresh look.  As time passes, it is common for the polyurethane coating to become worn and aged.  Before this protective coating becomes too thin, you should have it recoated with a new protective layer.  Prior to this being done, you should have the floors cleaned thoroughly.  After the floor has been cleaned, the existing polyurethane must be abraded to allow the new coating to adhere to the floor.  To have your floors screened and recoated, the cost averages $1,000 – $1,400 for an 800 square foot room.

If your floor has seen better days and has to be completely refinished Dean Graziosi recommends asking family members and friends if they know anyone or have used anyone in the past.  This will give you a starting point and you can then begin comparing prices.  When you meet with potential flooring experts, you should ask them a few questions first.

Once you have found someone you feel comfortable working with, you can expect for your cost to range between $2,500 – $3,000 for an average 800 square foot room.  Depending on the costs of materials and any delivery fees, that price may change.  Before any work begins, it is important that you nail down all of the fees and are clear on what you are being charged for.

What to Include On Your Rental Property Maintenance Checklist

June 10, 2014

rentMaintaining your rental property is an important step in keeping tenants. Chances are, you’ll probably make a lot of modifications before a prospective tenant even moves in, but what happens during the time your property is occupied? Keeping a rental maintenance checklist is a great way to ensure no stone is left unturned. Dean Graziosi has provided these tips to help you begin creating one.

Arrange for a regular pest control appointment. Getting the property checked for bugs and other pests on a regular basis is a good idea. Your tenants will appreciate the attention to detail.

Check the property regularly for mold. While all types aren’t toxic, they are still unwanted. The toxic variety can cause a lot of future health problems for people and should definitely be avoided at all cost. Checking regularly will allow you to catch mold as it begins and get rid of it. Mold tends to develop and grow quickly in wet areas such as bathrooms. Cleaning tiles and in crevices will also help to prevent it.

Check for water leaks. You will notice wet patches in the ceiling and water marks.

Check laundry areas to make sure they are properly ventilated. Hot air that emitted inside will cause condensation over time.

Check all lights inside and outside the home to make sure they are all working properly. Have any shorts you may find repaired immediately.

Check the air conditioning and heating units to ensure they are in working order. Heaters need to be cleaned thoroughly once a year.

Change the air conditioner filters every three months. This helps air flow easily throughout the home and keeps it clean. This will also cut down on the monthly utility bills for your tenant.

Clean and repair the gutters, drains, and down pipes as needed. Check all outside taps to make sure they are not dripping. Also check for and repair leaks.

Check the walkways and outdoor porch and patio areas for cracks. Repair any crevices that could cause someone to stumble or trip.

Is the mailbox in good condition? Mailboxes can become damaged over time and need to be replaced on a regular basis.

Repaint the numbers on the curb when needed. If people are unable to see them, they will not be able to find the address easily.

Keeping your rental property healthy is important. As an article posted on HD Supply Solutions points out, this is good for both the tenant and landlord. Regular updates and maintenance can really make a big difference and will send the message to your tenants you care about improving their living space. Make a list of possible maintenance issues to check on a regular basis. You can learn more about this and other real estate topics by visiting Dean Graziosi’s blog.

How Difficult Is It to Downsize

June 4, 2014

downsizeHome downsizing may have become more difficult, but can still be a viable option for those who still want to be homeowners but who can no longer afford a larger house. There are plenty of barriers to overcome, but it still might be the best option for you. Check out Dean Graziosi’s tips below.

Downsizing may be harder than you think. As reported in an article posted on money.usnews.com a survey completed in 2011 showed 87 percent of real estate agents with clients who were looking to downsize, but the numbers aren’t showing a higher number of people actually following through. In fact, as noted in this same article, the number of those who do trade down hasn’t really changed all that much.

New homes are also not nearly as easy to acquire as they were in the past. Sure the mortgage rates may be low, but the banks have tightened the loan requirements enough to make buying a new home more difficult, even if you are selling one property to purchase another. The approval for a new mortgage may also be based more on one’s job outlook than before, which adds even more obstacles for someone who is at or near retirement.

If you are able to downsize though, you can still save money. You can still make a profit while saving more in the future.

So what should you do if you are considering downsizing as an option? First consider what it will mean for you and your family. How much money will you really be saving in the end? Will it really be more economical after all is said and done? These are important questions to ask yourself. Talk to your realtor to discuss your options. It may all come down to the properties you find and whether or not they are worth it now, or whether you should wait and look again in the future. Talk to others who have downsized if possible to find out how they feel about their experience and if it was really worth it for them in the end.

The key to downsizing is finding housing that is affordable. The good news is you may not have to go far to do this, though sometimes it may mean moving to a different town or city. If you are considering moving out-of-state, be sure to thoroughly research real estate in various areas in the state and city where you plan to reside.

Downsizing isn’t easy, but doesn’t have to be impossible. If you are comfortable where you are and can afford it, it may pay to just stay there. This is especially true if you are anywhere close to paying off your mortgage. On the other hand, if you truly feel downsizing is the way to go, begin your research early. Know what you’re getting into before making any decisions. Read more real estate topics on Dean Graziosi’s website.

Why You May Want To Reconsider Becoming A Landlord

May 28, 2014

rental keysOwning investment property that you use as rentals can be a great way to increase your monthly income and build long-term wealth over the years.  But with that additional income, you are also taking on a lot of extra stress and work.  But not everyone is cut-out to become a landlord, states Dean Graziosi.  There are some things that you should keep in mind before you decide whether or not you can deal with the day to day obligations that being a landlord involve.

If you are not good at making repairs or fixing things around the house, then you may find being a landlord a bit overwhelming.  Owning rental properties often require you to spend the majority of your free time making repairs.  If you feel that this may be too much of an obligation for you, you may want to reconsider becoming a landlord.  However, if you have the funds necessary, you can always hire someone to manage your properties or make the necessary repairs.

Many of lead busy lives between having to work a full day and then coming home to family life.  If you work more than 40 hours per week and have family obligations, becoming a landlord might not be the smartest choice for you.  While you may experience some periods where your properties are all occupied and the tenants are not calling with needed repairs, that golden period will likely not last forever.  You should expect that you will likely be required to perform some type of work at your rentals at least four to six times each year; with some of that work being more involved than others.  If you are already too busy, you may not want to add to that by becoming a landlord.

The lack of extra income or savings is also another thing that you should take into consideration before becoming a landlord.  Without available funds to cover the costs of any needed repairs to your rental properties, you may end up spending a lot more than you had anticipated.  If you do not have the necessary funds in savings to cover any unexpected problems with your investment properties, you may end up experiencing a lot more financial stress than you ever imagined.

Dean Graziosi explains that while purchasing investment properties may seem like a money-making idea at first, sooner rather than later the reality will set in.  Rental properties tend to cost landlords a lot more than they ever thought they would.  If you are not financially prepared and ready to take on the extra financial burden, you should think twice about taking on the responsibility of rental properties.

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