Investing Your Money in Real Estate

3-Step Guide For Safely Keeping Termites Out Of Your Untreated Deck Wood Using Natural Ingredients

Posted by on Jan 15th, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3-Step Guide For Safely Keeping Termites Out Of Your Untreated Deck Wood Using Natural Ingredients

If your house has a deck built with untreated wood, you may worry about termites infesting it. However, you may be reluctant to use harsh, toxic chemicals that could affect your family or pets. If so, use the following three-step guide for using natural ingredients to prevent an infestation. Step 1:  Carefully Inspect The Deck’s Wood Before you begin treating your deck, carefully inspect the wood. Look for any signs that you already have termites infesting it. If so, you may want to contact a pest control service to inspect the damage and find out what needs to be done to get rid of the invading bugs. While the treatment below may get rid of some of the termites, it may not penetrate deep enough to kill all of the bugs, which may require professional assistance. If you do not see any signs of an infestation, check the wood for moisture. If it has recently rained and the wood is still damp, wait a few sunny days before proceeding with the next two steps. The methods of treating the wood require that it be as dry as possible so they can fully soak into the wood fibers. If there are no signs of a current infestation and the wood is dry, go on to step two. Step 2:  Wipe On An Orange Oil And Borax Treatment This part of the treatment involves wiping a liberal coat of a homemade treatment made with orange oil and borax. Not only does the smell deter termites, but orange oil also contains D-Limonene, a chemical that dries up their exoskeletons. Along with the drying power of the borax, any termites that do wander onto your deck looking for a new home are killed. This step of the process is done twice a year: once when the weather turns warm in spring and again in the fall before the first frost. This ensures that the treatment stays active year-round. In a small bucket, combine two cups of water, a cup of borax and a cup of orange oil, and mix well. The water is included to make the application process easier. After it evaporates, the oil will soak into the wood, pulling the borax with it. Using a sponge or soft-bristle paintbrush, coat the wood with the treatment. Continue until the entire deck is covered, making more if necessary. Let the wood dry for a day or two, then go on to the third step. Step 3:  Spray With An Aloe Leaf And Clove Oil Mixture The third step involves spraying the deck with an aloe leaf and clove oil mixture once a month. The scents of both of these ingredients are repugnant to the termites, helping to keep them away from your deck. You will need a garden hose with a sprayer attachment for the application. Crush 20 aloe plant leaves, and place them in a gallon bucket. Bring a half of a gallon of water to a full boil, then carefully pour it on top of the leaves. Add 20 drops of clove oil, and leave the bucket overnight to allow the juices from the leaves to infuse fully into the water. The next day, pour two cups of the mixture into the sprayer, and attach it to the hose. Spray your deck...

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Moving For Work? 2 Things You Should Ask Your Employer To Roll Into Your Relocation Package

Posted by on Dec 14th, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Moving For Work? 2 Things You Should Ask Your Employer To Roll Into Your Relocation Package

As soon as your boss asks you to move for work, he might start mentioning other job relocation perks, such as a complimentary moving services or a home-hunting trip on the company’s dime. However, while those benefits can simplify your upcoming move, they aren’t the only expenses you will come across during your relocation. Here are two things you should ask your employer to roll into your relocation package and why: 1: A Monthly Stipend For Your New Cost of Living Moving to a swanky city in a new state might sound like an exciting change of pace, but how much will that new lifestyle cost you? Because the cost of living can vary significantly from state to state, it should be carefully calculated into your relocation package. For example, if you are moving from Twin Falls, Idaho to Portland, Oregon, your housing alone will cost about 96% more. That means that your modest $200,000 home in Idaho might cost a staggering $392,000 in Portland. If you think that housing is the only thing that might cost more, think again. Groceries cost 26% more in Portland and healthcare is 23% more expensive. That means that your monthly grocery bill will increase by almost a quarter, and your $300 per monthly health insurance premium might increase to $369. Before you negotiate your relocation package, take the time to evaluate your new cost of living by using an online calculator. These helpful tools can help you to know what to expect, so that you can request a monthly stipend to offset your costs. For example, you might be able to request a monthly mortgage allowance to offset that new, pricey mortgage, or to help you to cover the cost of dining in your new state. If your employer offers you a higher salary to cover cost of living, take the time to do the math. Calculate an estimated monthly breakdown of your new expenses, and compare it to your new income—minus taxes and other withholdings. If your new salary won’t cover the difference, request more money.  2: Loss-On-Sale Protection If you weren’t planning on moving anytime soon, you might not have given a lot of thought to your local housing market. Unfortunately, if the market in your area is experiencing slow growth, you might be looking at taking a loss on your home. Also, since corporate relocations are typically based off of your employer’s timetable, you might be pressured to accept the first offer that comes your way, no matter how low it is. Fortunately, some employers offer loss-on-sale protection, which keeps you from losing money due to the sale of your home. For example, say that you purchased your home for $250,000 ten years ago. Although you kept your house pristine and made a few upgrades, the apartment complex that went up across the street caused your house value to plummet—putting the new value at around $175,000. Instead of taking a $75,000 loss on your place, your employer might pay the difference, so that you can move without destroying your finances. To calculate the reimbursement rate of your real estate deal, your employer may take into account the amount that you owe on the home, the current real estate market trends, and the appraisal value of your place. Your employer...

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4 Important Factors To Evaluate When Purchasing Land To Build A House On

Posted by on Dec 11th, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Important Factors To Evaluate When Purchasing Land To Build A House On

If you are looking for a parcel of land to build a home on and have already selected your house plans and set your budget, there are a variety of different factors you should look into before making an offer on land for sale. It is vital to evaluate these factors, because they can affect what you will be able to do with the land you buy, and they could also affect the expenses you will incur when you begin building your house. Here are four of the most important factors you should evaluate as you look for land to purchase. Zoning Laws The very first thing to examine with a parcel of land is the zoning restrictions. If you are purchasing land within a subdivision, you will have no problem building a house on the land, because this is what subdivision land is zoned for. On the other hand, if the land you are purchasing is located within town limits, there might be zoning restrictions that could prevent you from using the land for residential purposes. If you use a real estate agent to help you locate land for sale, he or she will help you find land that is zoned for the purpose you need it for. If you inadvertently purchase land that is not zoned properly, you could apply to have the land rezoned. Unfortunately, this is not an easy process to complete. It can also take time and cost a lot of money. Condition Of The Soil The second thing to consider is whether or not the land is suitable for building a home. While it may seem like you could build a house on any piece of land, this is not the case. If the land happens to be located in a flood zone, you may not be able to get approved for a home loan to build a house on this land. In other cases, the soil on the land is not suitable for building. The lot might be too low, which could be another factor that could stop you from building. If you are not sure what to look for with soil on a piece of land, you could order a soil review. While this may cost you some money to do, it will be better to find out the condition of the site before you buy it. This could end up helping you save a lot of money in the long run. Water And Sewer Evaluating how water and sewer activities are handled is also an important step in the process of choosing the right piece of land. If the land is located in an area that has city water and sewer, you may be required to hook up to these things. If this is something you want, then that piece of land might be fine for you to choose. If you were really hoping to have well water and your own septic tank, you probably would not want to choose land that has city water and sewer services. Utilities Finally, you should look into the utilities in the area. If the land is located near other homes, you will probably be able to get your utilities hooked up for a reasonable price. If the land is located far out of...

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Tenant Tips: How To Avoid Having A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Posted by on Nov 12th, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tenant Tips: How To Avoid Having A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Renting can offer you several pros and cons. However, in order to enjoy the pros of renting, you need to know how to avoid the cons. As a tenant, you have certain rights, knowing what those rights are and adhering to certain tips can help you avoid having a bad day related to eviction, financial troubles, repairs, and even fraud. Avoiding a Terrible Day Related to Eviction Each year, many tenants face the threat of eviction. Between 2010 and 2013, various states experienced an increase in eviction filings such as Kentucky with an 8% increase, Massachusetts with an 11% increase, and Maine with a 21% increase. Evictions threaten the livelihood of many tenants such as yourself. Coming home to an eviction notice on the door can certainly be the root of a terrible day. However, when it comes to eviction, there are a few things you should know. For starters, your landlord must go through a court process in order to evict you. A verbal eviction notice is not sufficient nor valid in a court of law. Just because your landlord informs you that you are evicted does not mean you are. You are not officially evicted until a judge makes that determination. Speak to a tenant service in order to verify your rights. Keep in mind that tenant rights vary by state. A tenant service can help you identify your rights when you are faced with an eviction, depending on the state in which you reside. Make sure you let the service professionals know the details of your eviction so they are better equipped to assist you. Avoiding a Horrible Day Related to Finances Tenant services may also frequently offer counseling and financial advice. If you live paycheck to paycheck, you are not alone. Approximately 76% of Americans live the same way, which can make paying rent on time, if at all, a seemingly difficult task. One tip to be aware of is the fact that you should avoid misconceptions regarding your rent. One mistake renters make is thinking that they can afford rent that is a maximum of 35% of their income. However, there are several experts and sources that suggest otherwise. In fact, it is recommended that your rent does not cost more than approximately 25% of your income. If you can keep it below that, it could put you in better financial shape. If your rent is too costly for your income, it can leave you pinching pennies and perhaps even missing rent payments. A tenant service can help you determine if the home or apartment you are living in is too expensive based on the amount of money you make. If you insist on spending up to the maximum on rent, then consider cutting your costs in other areas such as cable to help you make your rent payments on time. Missing rent payments could very well lead to a horrible day if you are not careful. Avoiding a No Good Day Related to Repairs Make sure you pay attention to your rental lease prior to renting a home or apartment. Ensure that the landlord is responsible for any repairs needed ranging from appliance replacement to roof leaks, broken windows, and more. If the lease does not specify that your landlord is responsible, you...

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Timing—the Crucial Factor to Sell Your House Quickly

Posted by on Nov 3rd, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Timing—the Crucial Factor to Sell Your House Quickly

When a house is listed with a real estate company and does not sell within a few months, it can be frustrating for the seller. If you want to avoid this frustration by being able to sell your house fast, you may want to be selective with your timing. Timing your listing can make a difference in the price you get for your house and in the speed of the sale. Here is more information you should know about timing your listing for your benefit. The Season Matters for Speed According to most statistics and experts, houses tend to sell faster in the spring. Spring is a season when the weather begins to change and people feel excited for summer. This excitement leads to a variety of decisions, and many people make the decision to start home shopping once this season hits. June is the month when home sales typically peak, but shopping for homes typically begins around March or April. Homes also tend to look nicer in the spring, which is an attractive trait for buyers.  Because of this, you may want to start talking to a real estate agent during February or March at the earliest. You do not necessarily have to list your home when you initially talk to an agent, but you can ask questions and learn more about selling your home. One issue to discuss with an agent is the price of your house. Choosing the right listing price can also have a big impact on your ability to sell your house quickly. By April, you should consider getting your house on the market so you do not miss any of the spring home shoppers. The Season Matters for Price In addition to being able to sell your house faster if you list it in the spring, you may also end up getting a higher price for your home. According to Zillow, houses that sell in the spring typically sell for around 2% more than usual. While 2% may not be a huge amount, it can make a difference. For example, if your house would have sold in the fall for $200,000, you might be able to get $204,000 if you sold it in the spring. That is an extra $4,000 in your pocket just by timing your sale properly. A Sellers’ Market Is Beneficial Finally, you should realize the difference between a sellers’ market and a buyers’ market. A sellers’ market refers to time periods when it is most beneficial for people to sell their homes. Some of the characteristics of a sellers’ market include: Large number of people looking for homes Limited number of homes on the real estate market for sale Low interest rates Low unemployment rates Positive view of economy and the future These characteristics are all beneficial for sellers because they cause the prices of homes to increase and the chances of selling to improve. Sellers’ markets do not occur at certain times of the year, and they do not even always occur each year, but they do happen periodically. A buyers’ market, on the other hand, refers to time periods when buyers can land great deals on homes. During a buyers’ market, there are a lot of homes for sale and the prices of these homes tend to drop....

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5 Reasons To Purchase Your Home During The Winter

Posted by on Oct 16th, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Reasons To Purchase Your Home During The Winter

The perfect time to purchase a home usually comes down to when you are financially and emotionally prepared for a long term commitment. You may have saved enough for a down payment at any point during the year, but many people wait until spring or summer to start looking for a home. This can be because the nicer weather makes exploring neighborhoods more comfortable. But the same weather that makes going for an afternoon stroll a lovely idea can influence your purchasing decisions, causing you to buy an ideal summer home that you may not love year round. Below are five reasons that viewing properties in the winter will give you a more realistic idea about the home you are purchasing.  Get a Realistic Idea of Heating Costs If someone currently lives in the home that you are considering, then their heating system will be on during the winter. This can allow you to experience how the heating system works and whether there are any cold drafts in the home. You may notice that the house is cooler than you would like during the winter, which may mean you will have to update the heating system or pay large heating bills, or maybe it feels overly stuffy while the heating system is running.  In a new home or a home that does not currently have residents, the heating system may not be turned on. However, you can still get an idea of how well the house holds heat during the winter and whether it has enough south-facing windows to stay warm without stressing your heating system during the day.  See Your Potential Yard and Driveway When Covered In Snow  While you will likely spend the majority of your time in the yard during the summer, knowing what it looks and feels like during the winter can help you realize if you will like your home year round. You may realize that the pool the house has requires too much winter care to be worthwhile or you may find that a two-car driveway requires too much snow shoveling for your lifestyle.  You Can Experience the Neighborhood During the Cold Months Most neighborhoods tend to be the most lively during the summer months. However, you may be interested to see how active your potential neighborhood is when it gets dark early and it is cold outside. If there are children playing in the snow, then you know your children will have people to play with during cold weather. If the restaurants and coffee shops seem abandoned, you might wonder if there will be enough personal interaction to help you fight the winter blues.  After a Long Closing Period, You Will Move In During the Spring  Most home closing periods are about a month long. However, for first time buyers and other special situations, the closing period can take around 45 days. Sometimes, there are delays in closing periods that can lengthen the closing time even longer. Purchasing in late winter means that your closing should be completed and you should be ready to move into your home as soon as the weather gets nice. If you close in late summer, however, you risk having to move in the fall or winter, which can be more difficult.  Your Home May Cost Less ...

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The Essential Guide To Landlords, Property Managers, And Repairs

Posted by on Oct 14th, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Essential Guide To Landlords, Property Managers, And Repairs

A good property manager sits smack dab in the middle of the landlord and the renter. It takes great skill to navigate that position well, but it can be done, and when it’s done well the benefits are pretty spectacular. Here is what real estate investors and tenants need to know about their relationship with their property manager, especially when it comes to repairs. Repairs and Maintenance: The Essentials Landlords: If you’re the owner of a property in which you do not reside, you need to know a few things about maintenance and repairs. First, each state has it’s own habitability statute that lays out the minimum acceptable standards of a rental property. If you do not maintain the property to minimum standards you can face the withholding of rent until repairs are completed, or even the condemnation of the house. Repairs above and beyond the minimum standards set forth by your state are recommended, however, for a few reasons. It protects the value of your investment. No one wants to rent a house that meets minimum habitability standards, but has holes in the wall, cracked floors, or a terrible lingering smell. That will make it very difficult for you to maintain a positive cash flow. It keeps tenants happy. Happy tenants stay longer, which is essential to maintaining the value of your property and a steady income. It prevents bigger problems down the line. Fixing a small leak now could save you the huge repair cost of having to replace a cabinet, a floor, or remediate a mold problem. Your property manager should be able to tell you what is going on at your rental home at any time and coordinate any necessary repairs with the tenant and repair team. The best part about this for you is that you don’t have to take the late night phone calls requesting repairs, you don’t have to spend time trying to find the right person to fix the problem, and you maintain anonymity with the renter.  Tenants: For tenants, the view of repairs can be quite different. You need to know that while you are making your home at your rental home, you will have an obligation to safeguard the property against preventable disasters. For example, noticing a small leak might not be a huge deal to you, but it can cause water damage that builds up over time, creating a huge project for the landlord.  In addition, because it is your home, you may feel the desire to paint a room, add a flower bed, or otherwise upgrade the property. Many owners are okay with such upgrades, others prefer to do them themselves as they transition from one tenant to another. You’ll need to ask before you begin these projects. The benefit of having a property manager for you is that whether it’s repairs, upgrades, questions about your lease, or anything else pertaining to your rental home, you have a one stop shop ready with answers. Just give your property manager a call, and they can get repairs made, maintenance completed, copies made and questions answered. Your property manager wants for you to remain happy in your home because, as listed above, it’s best for everyone to maintain renters that stay for a while. It might seem intimidating to hire a...

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2 Things You Should Check Before You Buy Foreign Real Estate

Posted by on Oct 13th, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2 Things You Should Check Before You Buy Foreign Real Estate

If sandy shores and comfortable living quarters are calling your name, you might be tempted to invest in foreign real estate to use as a vacation home or rental property. The key is to make sure you do your research first, so you don’t end up with a liability instead of an asset. Here are two things you should check before you buy foreign real estate: 1: Foreign Real Estate Restrictions Just because you have money to spend doesn’t mean that you can buy property anywhere in the world. To protect their local economy, some nations place strict regulations on foreign real estate transactions. For example, if you are planning on buying a vacation home in Australia, you can only buy a single-family house if you plan on spending at least 50% of the loan on renovations. The local laws also state that foreigners are barred from buying more than 50% of residential developments, which means that your ability to invest completely depends on who else has bought or sold property recently.    On the other hand, some nations welcome foreign real estate investments with open arms. For example, the Cayman Islands have absolutely no restrictions on foreign real estate transactions. To further incentivize foreigners to invest, the Cayman Islands also don’t charge annual property taxes or property gains taxes. Before you decide on a destination, take a good, hard look at the local regulations regarding foreign real estate transactions. Work with a real estate agent who specializes in foreign transactions, so that the process goes as smoothly as possible. In addition to understanding potential snags, the right real estate agent might also be familiar with traditional American living standards, so that you can find a property that you feel comfortable with. 2: Your Potential Return On Investment That neighborhood might seem serene now, but how will it look in twenty years? If you think that you might sell the property in the future, think carefully about your potential return on investment. Analyze local housing trends, and visit properties in real life to get a feel for the neighborhood. If your area has a high crime rate or a reputation for seedy business practices, it might be hard to make your money back if you ever decide to sell your vacation home. Also, think carefully about how you plan to use the property. Because your second house will be factored into your annual taxes, using the house the wrong way could hurt your financial portfolio. Here are a few examples of how you might be taxed depending on how you use that second home: Use As A Rental Property: Think twice before you rent out that vacation home to earn a little extra money. If you rent that vacation home more than 15 days per year, the Federal Government will consider it a rental property, and you have to pay taxes on your business proceeds.    Use As A Second Home: However, if you plan to use that second home as a vacation spot for your family, you can deduct your mortgage interest just like you would for your place back home. United States law states that you can deduct 100% of any loan interest on up to $1.1 million dollars worth of property, which means that a second...

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Three Lock And Key Myths That Could Be Hurting Your Security

Posted by on Oct 13th, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Lock And Key Myths That Could Be Hurting Your Security

Every industry has a long list of myths commonly believed by the average layperson, and the locksmith industry is no exception. Unfortunately, belief in some myths can have a negative impact on the security in people’s homes and businesses. Here are three myths you need to know the truth about to help you protect yourself, your family, and your assets. Myth #1 – Putting Do Not Duplicate on the Key Prevents Unauthorized Copying Possibly the most pervasive and harmful myth floating around is that stamping “Do Not Duplicate” (DND), or some variation of that phrase, on a key will prevent unauthorized people from getting copies of it. This is not true, because it’s not illegal to copy DND keys. Some locksmiths make it their business policy to decline to copy keys that are marked “Do No Duplicate”, but that’s most likely because they want to avoid being held liable if something happens. There is no law prohibiting locksmiths from copying DND keys, nor is there any type of formal identity verification process locksmiths must follow before duplicating them. So the odds of an unauthorized person getting a copy of a DND key are pretty high. The only way to prevent unauthorized key copying is to use restricted keys. These keys require locksmiths to use special templates that can only be obtained from the manufacturer. Only locksmiths approved by the manufacture or the owners of the restricted keys may order these key blanks. If your home or business requires you to prevent unauthorized copying, then this is the best way to go. Myth #2 – Thieves Can Only Make Copies If They Have the Key This myth used to be true. In the past, you couldn’t get a duplicate of a key without either the original or a really good copy of the key’s pattern of ridges and valleys. However, technology has advanced to the point where you can get a key duplicated just by taking a picture of it. This can be achieved by using one of many smartphone apps available to scan the key you want copied. The picture is then sent to an Internet company that makes the copy of the key and sends it to the purchaser’s address. Unfortunately, many of these companies often don’t have any safeguards in place to prevent unauthorized people from getting copies of keys. A few companies require users to provide credit card numbers and/or driver’s licenses to place orders, while others ask users to scan the keys a certain way to prove it belongs to them. However, these preventative measures can easily be defeated by a determined thief. This type of hacking can be tough to guard against. The best thing you can do is avoid giving your keys to people you don’t trust, and never upload pictures of your keys to the Internet where anyone can download them and use them for nefarious purposes. Having multiple locks that use different keys installed on your door may also provide some protection, since the thief may think to get a copy of one key but not the other. Myth #3 – A Really Good Deadbolt Will Turn a Bedroom Into a Panic Room Many people have a fear of being the victim of a home invasion or being inside the building...

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