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How Much Should You Anticipate in Hidden Homeownership Costs?

hidden costs with buying a home

This post is from Jennifer Riner at Zillow.  Making the switch from renting to owning? While historically low mortgage rates might mean your monthly mortgage costs are lower than what you paid while leasing, buyers must plan for more than a mortgage. Although you might factor in the high cost of a down payment, and the title and insurance fees you now face as a homeowner, it’s also important to consider the extra or hidden costs of homeownership. Courtesy of: Zillow   These extra costs can range from property taxes to minor landscaping fees to major roof repairs – depending on your region and the size of your property. According to a recent report from Zillow, the leading real estate marketplace and Thumbtack, a website that connects consumers with service professionals, homeowners might face $9,000 or more per year in hidden or extra homeownership costs. These include both unavoidable costs, such as utilities, and optional maintenance expenses like gutter cleaning. Unavoidable Hidden Costs The report identified three unavoidable hidden costs, which include homeowners insurance, property taxes and utilities. These are non-optional costs, meaning almost every homeowner is responsible for these dues – regardless of where they live. On average, homeowners ...

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Preparing Your Home to Sell Quickly and For Top Dollar

selling a home quickly

  Over the past few years, I’ve viewed many houses that were listed for sale. I am not the kind of buyer homeowners hope to have looking at their properties. Since we are usually searching for homes that make good rental properties, you can bet that we aren’t going to pay anything near the asking price. Sadly, I’ve seen some homes with real selling potential that languish on the market and fall prey to investors like us because of mistakes many homeowners make when trying to sell a house. If you don’t want people like me scooping up your house on the cheap, here are some simple ways of preparing your home to sell quickly and for top dollar. Think Like a Hotel Do you know why so many people enjoy staying in luxury hotels? It’s because they are modern, very clean, somewhat generic, yet able to make you feel at home at the end of a busy day. This is how you want potential home buyers to view your listing. Every person who walks through the front door needs to be able to picture themselves living there. That’s really hard when there is barely a path to walk between ...

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4 Ways to Know When to Buy or Sell a Property

4 Ways to know when to buy or sell a property

It doesn’t matter if you are a professional renovator or a young couple about to purchase their first home, buying or selling a property is a big deal. Aside from the financial investment, generally people are emotionally attached to their properties. Whether you are in the market for a new house or feeling ready to sell off an investment property, it is all about timing. So how do you know when the time is right? Read on for some ideas on how to spot the opportune moment! 1. The market is favorable If you are already planning on buying or selling and there are no urgent factors affecting your decision, be sure to do your research. While this may seem obvious, a favorable market can be more difficult to take advantage of than you expect. There are many factors to consider: do you have to sell your existing property and look to purchase at the same time; is location a key contributor to market forces; and are you buying and/or selling in suburbs that take advantage of these forces? Do you understand the current market in depth and how it will affect your position? Of course, a reliable real estate ...

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Rental Property Adventures

Multiplex for commercial and residential use.

For those of you interested in becoming landlords, I thought I’d share some progress and problems from our latest rental property adventures. It’s not all roses and monthly checks, but rental property can be very worthwhile if you have the stomach for it. Four Units For the Price of Three When we purchased our latest property, we tried to imagine it as buy three units get one free. The fourth unit was unfinished and about as livable as a bomb shelter.We got a deal on the property, but it needed lots of work to achieve full potential. The property came with two buildings, each divided into two apartments. There were three finished apartments that were rented when we took ownership.  Now, we are working to make that fourth unit a nice two bedroom apartment. If you can imagine a 760 sq ft open space with cement walls, a dirty half bath, and no duct work whatsoever, that’s our place! It needs everything; walls, flooring, a functional bathroom, closets, lighting, windows, doors, a whole kitchen with appliances. It’s a huge project. We are two weeks into an estimated six week time line. (I’m betting closer to 12 weeks, but we’ll see). It’s expensive and ...

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Buying a FourPlex

buying a fourplex as an investment property

It’s no secret that I like real estate. I think owning investment property is a great way to build wealth and create semi-passive income. You get to enjoy growing equity and increasing property value over time, all while someone else pays the mortgage. What’s not to like? Well, plenty. We made a bad decision in trying to flip a house a couple of years ago, and had a huge repair bill on one of our rentals this year, which negated any profits.  Still, we are in this for the long haul, and like something out of a HGTV episode, we recently found a deal and bought a fourplex! Here is the story. Not A Good Realtor To Be Found As you might remember, Jim and I have looked at a few potential rentals over the past year, or rather, I look and he says, “OK” as he does not share my love of the hunt. Anyway, after the bad flip deal, I was a bit sour on our realtor and decided to find someone new. The problem was that they all sucked. I thought I had a good one who actually showed me a  few properties at the end of ...

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