The ABC’s Of House Flipping
While house flipping can be very lucrative, you can lose everything with one bad decision. It’s important to approach this profession with caution and educate yourself as much as possible.
Before you even dream of entering this field, you have to be great with your hands or at the very least well versed on the topic of trades and renovations. You should also have a feel for the market. The last thing you want is all your profits sunk because you bought at the wrong time. It’s not as fun and easy as it looks on TV. This is a job that is not only very stressful but requires a lot of hard work.
It goes without saying that you need investment capital and excellent credit before embarking on a project of this magnitude. This step-by-step guide will set you in the right direction, but it’s important to remember that this isn’t an exact science. Never be complacent and always stay on your toes.
1. Scouting Homes
The most typical way to find homes is through the regular channels, finding a real estate agent, searching online, etc. However it’s important to be patient, always look out for the right deal.
The best bang for your buck is foreclosed homes. Make a habit of routinely checking the Internet for new foreclosed homes. Once you find one that looks good, never buy it on a whim. Always see it in person and bring an inspector.
The real estate market is generally steady, but there can be significant fluctuations from time to time. The last thing you want is to be a victim of these fluctuations. The most important thing to take into consideration when scouting a new home is locations. The better the location, the easier to flip. Selling fast mitigates the risk of these fluctuations. It’s also important to have great relationships with contractors so you don’t get caught with them dragging their feet.
3. What to look for in a house
It’s important not to purchase a potential tear down. What you’re looking for is a home that is structurally sound and only requires cosmetic upgrades. That’s why it’s important to have an inspector to verify that there is no mold or asbestos and that the wiring is sound. You also have to ensure that it’s built on a solid foundation.
4. Which renovations to focus on
As mentioned in step 3 you want a house that only requires cosmetic renovations, structural ones are very pricey. Even when narrowing it down to cosmetic, make sure you are focussing on cosmetics that will actually increase the value of the house. For example, installing a swimming pool is very costly and while it attracts more buyers, it won’t make you any extra money.
The most important room to focus on is upgrading the kitchen. Fresh tiles, a new backsplash, and marble or granite counter tops are essential. It’s also vital that you upgrade the appliances to stainless steel.
Other essential renovations include upgrading the bathrooms, installing fresh hardwood floors and fresh paint of course. Be sure not to neglect painting and landscaping the outside of the house to increase curb appeal.
Once you’ve located a sound house in a good location and finished all the renovations, flipping it should be a cinch. Also, it’s a good idea to be proactive and look for buyers before the project is complete.
When you bought the house with the pool, it looked like it was going to be all fun in the sun and splishin’ and-a splashin’, but now that the first signs of fall are appearing (the emergence of Pumpkin Spice signals just six more weeks of summer), it’s time to figure out how to protect that pool through the winter.
Before You Start Closing, Consider the Climate
Depending on where you live, you may need to take further or lesser measures to protect your pool through the winter. Your goal, ultimately, is to keep that pool and its systems from experiencing any sort of freezing. A frozen pipe, a frozen filter, anything like that could be a very expensive replacement in the spring when you open your pool again.
If you know for a fact that it never gets below 50 degrees Fahrenheit where you live, for example, you might not want to close your pool all the way. But, if it freezes frequently and there’s lots of snow, well, you’re going to have to break out bigger firepower. Living here in DFW, we are a little bit inbetween, it may or may not freeze or snow, but you want to be prepared! This meant as a general guide to pool closing, that being said, your mileage may vary.
Pool Closing Made Easy
Closing a pool isn’t that big of a deal if you have all the right tools and materials on hand. It can be a complicated situation, though, because of all the parts that you’ll need to check as you go. Take your time, keeping in mind the risk of freezing in your area versus the cost to replace the frozen component, and you’ll be ok.
These are the necessary basic steps to closing a pool in a middling sort of climate like here in DFW:
Step 1: Deep clean your pool. Vacuum the entire pool, brush the walls, skim the surface, remove any and all debris. This way you’re starting fresh again in the spring.
Step 2: Test the water. Check that your pool is properly balanced before you put it to bed. This means a pH between 7.2 and 7.8 and alkalinity between 80 and 120 parts per million. If you’re running toward the high sides of these ranges, that’s ok. Check the hardness, too, since calcium deposits can form in your equipment over time.
Step 3: Shock the pool. Shocking the pool right before closing will help it stay as clean as possible over the winter. A 15 minute fast dissolving shock treatment is absolutely fine since you won’t be using the pool again. If you have chronic algae problems, a winter algaecide will be a good addition. Use the same dose as is listed on the bottle for opening the pool.
OPTIONAL: Many pool owners skip the manual adjustments and use a winter closing kit to prepare their water for the long dark march of winter. If you choose to go this way, read the instructions carefully. Some require you run the filter, others do not.
Step 4: Time to plug it up. Remove the eyeball fitting on your return line and plug it with an appropriate plug. Remove the skimmer basket and put it into storage. You can leave the skimmer in the pool if you use a winter skimmer cover to protect it from accumulating water. With a skimmer cover, you can also leave more water in the pool, rather than having to drain the pool below the skimmer level.
Step 5: Protecting the moving parts. The pump, chlorinator and all the hoses (including the skimmer hose) need to be drained and brought inside to prolong their lives and protect them from the cold. Filters should also be winterized according to the type you have installed and kept indoors.
Step 6: Put the cover on. Start by inflating your air pillow, then tossing it toward the middle of your pool. If you have a hard pool cover or are otherwise concerned about the water level, this is a good time to lower it a bit. Cover the pool and, when needed, install a winter cover pump to keep water from accumulating on the pool’s cover.
That’s all there is to it! You can totally do this — piece of cake.
Article originally published by MarieClaire.com.
Millionaire To Millennials: Owning Your Home Can Help You Retire Sooner!
In a CNBC article, self-made millionaire David Bach explained that: “Buying a home is the escalator to wealth in America. Homeownership can also help you retire early, that is, if you pay your mortgage off.”
Bach suggests that homebuyers should, “Take out a 30-year mortgage, but with the intention of paying it off in 25, 20 or ideally, 15 years.”
How does he suggest you do this? Here’s the secret:
“…If you were paying $1,000 a month, now you’re going to make $1,100 payments every month. Inform the bank that you are doing this and that you want the extra $100 a month to be applied to the principal (not the interest).”
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO YOUR MORTGAGE?
Bach explains that, “If you keep this up, you’ll wind up paying off your 30-year mortgage in about 25 years. Increase your monthly payment by 20 percent, and you’ll have that mortgage retired in about 22 years.”
Whenever a well-respected millionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This millionaire gave simple advice – buy a home and pay off your mortgage early so that you can retire sooner with the money you will have saved.
Homebuyers Willing to Sacrifice ‘Must-Haves’ in Favor of Good School Districts
It should come as no surprise that buying a home in a good school district is important to homebuyers. According to a report from Realtor.com, 86% of 18-34 year-olds and 84% of those aged 35-54 indicated that their home search areas were defined by school district boundaries.
What is surprising, however, is that 78% of recent homebuyers sacrificed features from their “must-have”lists in order to find homes within their dream school districts.
The top feature sacrificed was a garage at 19%, followed closely by a large backyard, an updated kitchen, the desired number of bedrooms, and an outdoor living area. The full results are shown in the graph below.
Buyers are attracted to schools with high test scores, accelerated academic programs, art and music programs, diversity, and before and after-school programs.
With a limited number of homes available to buy in today’s real estate market, competition is fierce for homes in good school districts. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for Realtor.com, explained further,
“Most buyers understand that they may not be able to find a home that covers every single item on their wish list, but our survey shows that school districts are an area where many buyers aren’t willing to compromise.
For many buyers and not just buyers with children, ‘location, location, location,’ means ‘schools, schools, schools.’” (emphasis added)
For buyers across the country, the quality of their children’s (or future children’s) education ranks highest on their must-have lists. Before you start the search for your next home, meet with me and let me explain the market conditions in your area.
Dallas and 4 other Texas metros make the top 15 in the new list of U.S. boomtowns
The story of the United States is the story of people migrating to different cities and towns to build new lives through new opportunities. From the promise of gold to the promise of big tech in Northern California; from trading furs to building cars in Detroit; from the prosperity of shipping to the prosperity of hospitality in Charleston, the country is built on boomtowns… and Dallas is one of them!
With all the construction cranes on the highway and business relocations to the area, it’s no surprise that Dallas has ended up on a new list of the country’s biggest boomtowns. But why all the continued growth and interest?
Texas is obviously on fire, and people love coming here, maybe it’s our salsa! Seriously though, there are three good reasons why Dallas is a boomtown:
1 – Growing industry – business is booming
2 – More people and housing – people are coming and we are keeping up!
3 – Growing workforce and employment opportunities – it’s a good place to work and make a living
In fact not just Dallas, but all of Texas’ major metros ended up near the top of the new ranking by Magnify Money, a consumer finance website.
Dallas ranked in seventh place in the comparison of top U.S. growth cities. Austin was rated the top U.S. boomtown in the report. And San Antonio was just after Dallas in ninth place.
“Americans are flocking to and prospering in Texas,” Kali McFadden with Magnify Money said in the report. “Texas metros take up one-third of the top 15 spots.”
Magnify Money ranked cities on factors including population growth, housing and rising employment and incomes.
“The first thing we looked at was how much business and industry has grown locally,” McFadden said. “We not only wanted to know how many new businesses there are but also how businesses in general are doing, as measured by their increase in hiring and — for businesses that don’t have employees, known as non-employers — how much revenue has increased.”
While Texas towns hogged the economic beauty contest, cities in the Northeast and Midwest were near dead last in the ratings.
Some cities in Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut and Ohio saw their labor forces and the number of businesses shrink for the five-year period used in the comparison.
North Texas has been one of America’s fastest growing markets since the Great Recession, leading the country in job gains and population growth.
Article first published by MagnifyMoney.com.
From personalized wellness programs to fitness-focused apps, luxury homes are focusing on making residents feel better.
We need to take wellness into account in our non-stop paced digital lives. An increasingly isolated and aging population. Rising chronic illness. Climate change. Given the pressures of the modern world, a gym membership and taking the occasional “mental health day” often just aren’t enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
One way to achieve optimum wellness, experts and developers say, is by choosing a home that is designed for it.
Real Estate Developers Take Wellness Into Account
A growing number of developers believe healthier home features are a big pull for buyers. This real estate boom first sought to make office environments healthier. Now it is focusing more on the residential market, according to a new report released by the Global Wellness Institute (GWI).
What makes a “well” home?
Homes that are designed for a healthier lifestyle usually focus on energy efficiency and sustainable construction first, and then look at wellness programs within the community. Indoor components that can make a home healthier may include natural lighting, air quality, proximity to green spaces, exercise facilities, and nontoxic paints and finishes.
The U.S. leads the market share
Wellness real estate has grown to a $134 billion global industry, according to researchers at GWI. The number of residential, mixed use, and commercial properties has risen 6.4 percent annually since 2015. The GWI predicts that health-oriented real estate will continue to grow at that pace through 2022 and reach $180 billion by then. Globally, the U.S. leads the market share in wellness real estate developments.
“We’re becoming more unhealthy as we live longer,” Ophelia Yeung, a senior research fellow at the GWI, told Mansion Global. That has led more people to ask themselves “why they’ve invested their life savings in a home that is not keeping them well.”
Buyer’s are willing to pay a premium for a healthier home
Prospective owners may be willing to pay a premium for a healthier home or community. Home buyers may be willing to pay 10 to 25 percent premiums for homes in wellness developments at the middle and upper end of the market. “There is a recognition that building for human health is going to be the core [value]” in the real estate market going forward, Yeung says. “When you look at it from that perspective, it’s a whole lot bigger than the luxury apartment with the spa, the gym, the swimming pool.”
Personal wellness advisors play a part
At some high-end developments, staff are assessing the homeowner’s health as soon as they move in, Mansion Global reports. For example, condo owners at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Mass., consult with a personal health adviser to implement individualized wellness plans, which include on-site physicians, nutritionists, exercise physiologists, behavioral counselors, and spiritual wellness experts.
The mid-market should catch up in 3-5 years
The wellness movement seems to be taking root more in the high-end market, but the lower end of real estate will soon catch on too, Kavita Kumari, principal engineer at Cundall, a London-based multidisciplinary engineering consultancy, told Mansion Global. As the products and materials used in making healthier homes grow in appeal, costs will come down, Kumari says. Yeung estimates that in three to five years, the mid-market will catch up with the luxury segment. Broad consumer awareness about healthy homes is “just being awakened,” Yeung says.
Source: Article first published by Mansion Global (June 2018) “Wellness Real Estate Has Blossomed Into a $134 Billion Industry Worldwide—and It’s Growing Fast”.
Recently, the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) held their 52nd Annual Journalism Conference in Las Vegas, NV. Among the many highly anticipated sessions was one called “Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate™,” given by Joseph Nahas, Jr.
Their annual “top 10” list spans any and all issues that could have an impact on the real estate market. This year, the list was broken up into “Current” and “Long-Term Issues.”
This week I am going to focus on three of the five “Current” issues with a brief explanation of their impacts on the housing market today!
E-Commerce & Logistics
With promises of 2-day shipping no matter where you live, we are benefiting more now than ever before from the speed and ease-of-use of online retailers like Amazon. These e-retailers haven’t changed whether or not we buy certain items, but rather HOW we buy them!
Many traditional malls or big-box stores are being repurposed as warehouses or distribution centers for online retailers so that they can get their products out faster.
A Look to the Future: “Developers who are including experiences into their locations are the ones who will succeed. It’s about the experience and gaining something over just going to buy a product.”
Generational Change & Demographics
By now we’ve all heard that the millennial generation is the largest yet, just by sheer volume. The largest group of millennials turns 30 years-old in 2020. The average first-time homebuying age is between 30 and 32, depending on marital status. Real estate professionals will be inundated with more and more buyers as the years roll on. Nahas commented on this in his presentation, saying that,
“Too many developers have become dependent on making decisions based on baby boomer’s preferences.
The 75 million millennials are coming, and they will influence real estate and commerce even faster than the baby boomers in the 50s and 60s.”
Interest Rates & the Economy
The interest rate that you secure for your mortgage is a big factor in your monthly housing cost and in how much you ultimately pay for your home. According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates rose to 4.62% on a 30-year fixed rate loan last week.
The Federal Reserve also raised the federal funds rate for the second time this year. If unemployment continues to be at or near record lows, two more hikes are likely to come later this year.
“Rising rates can be good and bad for the economy. Bad for borrowing money with additional costs, but good to control inflation and help grow the economy at a moderate pace.”
If you are planning on buying and/or selling a home this year, consult The Norma Langston Team who can help you navigate the conditions in your market and set you up for success. Phone: 469-450-2559 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Backyard Oasis
There’s nothing better than a quick swim in crystal clear water on blazing hot day. Taking care of your pool filter will make sure that your pool is always in top condition and ready for you to enjoy.
What Types of Pool Filters Need to be Cleaned?
Filter cleanings are necessary for nearly all residential swimming pools. The reason for this is approximately 98% of residential swimming pools in Texas are either DE (diatomaceous earth), cartridge, or some combination of the two types called a hybrid. The remaining 1-2% are sand filters which do not disassemble and clean up without a sand change. Commercial swimming pools in comparison are nearly all outfitted with sand filters for several reasons.
Depending on the type of filter you have, you should check in on it every 1 to 3 months during the peak season and perform a backwash. Backwash is the setting used for flushing out the filter when it becomes overloaded with dirt or sand. Water is drawn from the pool by the pump and enters the filter through the underdrain system in the bottom of the tank. Refer to your particular product’s user manual to get the exact directions on how to properly backwash your filter.
Did you know filter cleanings pay for themselves?
The electricity savings alone will often cover the cost. To verify this just put a voltmeter on the filter pump motor and measure the amount of amps it is drawing when running before and after your filter cleaning. NOTE: If you are not familiar with electricity or qualified to do this please hire a professional.
A dirty filter that has been cleaned will often drop the average pressure on the tank by 5-10psi. This increased flow through the filter means the filter pump will draw less amps or power. Since your filter pump motor is one of the biggest consumers of power in your home this savings in power will directly affect your electric bill. Why give this money to the electric company when you could have a healthier pool instead?
With a clean and maintained pool filter you will:
- Lower your electrical bill – this alone could pay for a swimming pool filter cleaning.
- Get healthier pool water – 10-20lbs of dirt and gunk will no longer be in your swimming pools circulatory system. Your pool water will not longer be pumped through this gunk. Also you will be at less risk of algae outbreaks.
- Prolong your pool filter’s life – less stress on the internals means less repairs.
- Prolong the life of your filter pump motor – less resistance from the filter means it can do its job of moving your pool water more easily.
Enjoy your pool this season!
If there’s any hard and fast rule of remodeling, it’s that it’s always more expensive than you think it will be. Here are 7 tips for staying under budget.
In 1986, Tom Hanks starred in a movie called “The Money Pit.” It was all about a couple’s adventures in remodeling what has to be the worst house ever. Even though it was a comedy, if you’ve ever been part of a big remodel, some of the situations the co-stars find themselves in (re: the remodel, not the rest of the story, which is clearly irrelevant) are way too familiar. Too little money, problems becoming bigger than initially assumed and chaos, chaos, chaos.
But you aren’t going to jump into a money pit worthy remodeling project. Oh no. Not when there are so many awesome ways to avoid it.
Remodeling is Always More Expensive Than You Expect
If there’s any hard and fast rule of remodeling, it’s that it’s always more expensive than you think it’s going to be. Even professionals tend to build some padding in to accommodate the unknown. The older the house and wider the scope, the bigger the padding.
Although building regulations have been around since the early twentieth century, they were inconsistent across the country and poorly enforced. It wasn’t until 1997 that the International Building Code was first published, finally creating a building code that was uniform across participating countries.
That’s a little background about why so many older houses are full of surprises you get to uncover when you start to remodel them. It really helps to go into a remodel with a savings mindset if you’re going to stay under budget.
Get Ready to Save Some Money: Tips to Get You Started
Remodeling can be a huge process, but if you’ve got the intestinal fortitude for it, it can be an incredible experience to be involved with. No matter if you hire most of the work or just hire the work that requires a permit, you may be able to save more on your job by trying these tips!
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle to Save More.Whoa, whoa, whoa. Take that trim out carefully, you can reuse that stuff! Although more narrow types of trim like quarter round can be pretty fragile, wider crown molding or tall base moldings are great candidates for recycling, for example. Cabinets, tiles, sinks, tubs, light fixtures and most materials, really, can be recycled in some way.
- Paint Can Give Materials a Face Lift.Hate that wooden trim? Is the wash on your kitchen cabinets unbearable? How about that wood paneling? You don’t have to rip them out, all you need to do is sand them lightly, apply an appropriate primer and carefully paint them. Suddenly you’ve got a whole new look!
- Replace, Don’t Relocate.When you’re remodeling rooms like kitchens and bathrooms, it’s tempting to move toilets, sinks and dishwashers — but don’t! Instead, work around their existing locations, since moving your plumbing (as well as electrical) can be very expensive and may require that you bring your house up to current code, adding even more cost to the remodel.
- Check Out Sales, Coupons and Scratch and Dent.When it comes to appliances, especially, scratch and dent sales are one of the best places to find deep discounts. Big home improvement stores tend to get a lot of returns and typically there’s nothing else really wrong with the appliance. There may be a small scratch on the side or top, but if it’s not too obvious or it’s the sort of injury you’re likely to inflict on your appliance moving it into your house, there’s no reason to spend an extra $500 on that fridge.
Sales and coupons come around on a regular basis. Wait for them. Be patient. Collect the stuff you need for your remodel ahead of time, that way you’ll be ready and have saved a bundle on all those big-ticket items!
- Discount Material Stores Can Yield Fruit.Discount material stores often get bulk shipments of odds and ends that larger retailers couldn’t move in a reasonable amount of time. Sometimes this means that they’ve got big stacks of avocado green tile, sometimes it means they have just enough high-grade laminate flooring for your living room. Make sure you know how much material you need before you go into a discount material store, usually it’s a one shot situation. Once they’ve sold out of the material, it’s just gone.
- Look for Ads Selling Used Materials.Remodelers and homeowners often put bigger ticket items up for sale when they’re being replaced, especially if they seem to have a reasonable amount of life left in them. Windows, pavers and excess materials from projects are popular things you’ll see in online and offline ads. You’ll need to make sure the used materials you buy are right for your remodel, but otherwise, this is a great way to save.
- Use Your Material More Efficiently.It might seem sort of obvious, but the more efficiently you use your materials, the less you’ll need and the more you’ll save. This means planning all your cuts ahead of time, being mindful of each piece and where it goes (like some giant crazy jigsaw puzzle!) and aiming for zero waste. You can usually return excess building materials, especially when they come from a home improvement store.
Can I Save Money Without Doing it Myself?
If you’re a little less handy or just far too busy to contemplate doing your own home remodel, it’s smart to call in a home remodeler. These professionals can advise you in ways to save money with your remodel, based on your end goals and what you’re already working with. Just try to be as flexible as possible, that’s the easiest way to save money with a professional remodel, really.
There are plenty of well-qualified, recommended home pros to choose between. Contact your Norma for recommendations.
The Spring and Summer 2018 season is here and color is back! Here is a round up of my favorite design trends I am seeing for your home…
It’s easy to forget what Memorial Day actually means while you’re sitting by the pool and looking ahead at summer vacation—but the day signifies much more than just a three-day weekend.
For first time home buyers, getting your foot into the market is difficult. At its core, it comes down to how much you can save and how fast. Saving up for enormous purchases, like a home, can take many years and sometimes decades. If you’re living at your parent’s house, saving is obviously easier because you don’t have expenses. If you’re renting, it can be very difficult to save for a home when you have to contend with everyday living expenses. Additionally, it’s difficult gauging how much you need to save or rather, calculating how large a home you can afford based on what you’ve saved and how much money you have coming in. (more…)
Every year, Gallup surveys Americans to determine their choice for the best long-term investment. Respondents are given a choice between real estate, stocks/mutual funds, gold, savings accounts/CDs, or bonds. (more…)
When you move into a new home, the last thing you have trouble with is filling up your storage space. Even if you’re a new homeowner or moving into a very large house, it’s just matter of time before all that storage space is used up. The problem is many people resign themselves to the perception that all their storage space is used up and there’s nothing they can do about it. The truth is there are many creative storage solutions that you can employ to maximize your storage space. The following ideas can help! (more…)