House hunting can be a fun, yet frustrating experience. While it’s exciting to look for a home of your own, you also have to recognize that sellers are trying to put their homes in the best possible light. By recognizing common phrases, you’ll be better equipped to know which homes should be avoided altogether.
“Pride of Ownership Shows”
At first glance, this phrase implies that the owners have taken good care of the property. However, in most cases, it also means little, if anything, has been updated. You can look forward to decades-old tiling, antique appliances, and more than a few rooms that need a remodel.
“In One of the Hottest Neighborhoods”
If you see a descriptive phrase that uses words like “hot” or “up and coming,” be aware that you’re expectations may fall short of the reality. Often, sellers will use these terms to describe neighborhoods that are expected to take a good turn and attract developers. Typically, these neighborhoods will lack nearby amenities and may only show the promise of improvement.
Even if you are an investor, you might want to stay away from properties with this as a headline. It indicates a property in distress most of the time and suggests you will need to make several updates just to make the property welcoming. If you’re looking for a home, this may not be the best choice for you.
“Offered as Is”
This is another one that would be best avoided. Often, “as is” suggests the owner knows there’s a great deal wrong with the property and he’s hoping to pass his problems onto an ambitious buyer. By the time the needed repairs are complete, you may have spent more money than the home is actually worth.
Think condo, but smaller. If you’re on the market for a single-family home, you’re probably looking for something roomy and something with potential for expansion. You’ll find neither in homes that are marketed with this phrase. These are typically very small homes that won’t suit your needs.
This is a deceptive phrase indicating you’ll probably spending a few weeks just getting the yard presentable. The current owner probably hasn’t put much effort into maintaining the “curb appeal” of the home. Of course, if you love the rest of the home and want to spend the money, you can always hire professional landscapers to do the dirty work for you.
These are some common phrases used in real estate marketing. While you should be wary of them, not every one of them is the kiss of death. Be aware that you may be getting more than you expect, but also keep an open mind. You may end up getting that diamond in the ruff.
Real estate investing offers a great way to grow your savings and build wealth. While many people want to get involved in this possibly lucrative venture, the responsibilities that go along with owning property may be keeping them from acting on their interests. However, there are many options for investing in real estate that don’t include becoming a landlord.
Buy Real Estate ETFs
As mentioned in a previous post, an ETF is an exchange-traded fund that’s comparable to mutual funds in that they consist of stocks relating to a particular theme. However, unlike mutual funds, an ETF is traded publicly on the exchange. Vanguard’s VNQ is one such real estate themed ETF. This fund invests in REITs, or real estate investment trusts, which focus on stocks concerning commercial real estate, such as office buildings, hotels, and similar buildings.
Real Estate Mutual Funds
A more traditional route may be to invest in real estate mutual funds, which provide the possibility of growth without the high risk. DFREX is a favorite in this category, partly because it offers lower fees than other funds. Additionally, DFREX consistently performs well. The fund shows great promise for future gains, because it’s supported by decades of professionally driven research. Nobel Prize winners help to develop the fund’s strategy.
Invest Directly in REITs
This is another option for investing in real estate without taking actual ownership of any property. REITs are like funds in that they stick to a general theme, such as commercial real estate, so you can opt for whichever category appeals to you the most. If you choose to explore this option, do so with caution. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently issued warnings against REITs that aren’t publicly traded. The agency highlighted a lack of liquidity, lack of value transparency, and high fees as factors that create unnecessarily high risk.
Invest with Commercial Real Estate Developers
These can be hotel corporations, resort or timeshare operators, or commercial contractors. By buying stock in these types of organizations, you can benefit from their growth without having the responsibility of buying property yourself. You will have to thoroughly research each company to ensure you’re making a sound investment, but, otherwise, this can be a promising alternative.
These are just a few ways you can invest in real estate without getting your hands dirty. Most people live lives that are too busy to add maintaining a rental property to their schedule, so these options let you reap the benefits of real estate investing more freely. As your money grows, you may find more opportunities for investing in real estate centric funds, stocks, and companies.
There are two ways investors make money in real estate: renting and selling for profit. Of course, the savvy investor can use both methods, even on the same property. Here we will go over some details of each method.
It should be emphasized that whether renting out a property or selling for raw profit, the importance of location can’t be overemphasized. The fact is that nearly any model of residential or commercial building can be replicated in many locations. However, the local amenities, culture, atmosphere, weather, or historical value cannot be duplicated. It is such factors that give rise to widely different prices and rents for otherwise identical structures.
Cash Flow: Rent
When renting, the first priority is attracting and retaining tenants. Generally, home-like rental properties or long-term commercial leases are a better option than short-term rentals that, admittedly, fetch a comparatively higher monthly rental. This is because vacancies take their toll and are bad for cash flow. Make sure to specify clear lines of responsibilities for tenants and the property owner. Maintenance, repairs, utilities and tax responsibilities accrue as costs to the property owner, so make sure that rental cash flow at least matches maintenance and other necessary expenditures.
Fix and Flip
Buying low and selling high is the holy script of investing. When buying real estate, beware that the purchase price essentially traps liquidity upon sale completion and for as long as it takes to renovate and resell the house. Also consider the opportunity cost of other income-producing activities, including renting, that the property owner could be doing. Such opportunity costs can add up, but if the buyer were to completely outsource the “fix” to others, the added cost would reduce or even eliminate the profit margin upon resale.
Note that both methods of making money from real estate entail unexpected costs along the way. Vacancies, irresponsible and toxic tenants, as well as competing units can take the steam out of anticipated cash flow from rental properties. Costly repairs, illiquid funds, and all-in marketing and resale costs can deflate profit margin from fix-and-flip properties. Consider the time and expertise required for each investment method and pick whatever works best. Real estate can be lucrative, but is not risk-free.
Real estate is quickly becoming one of the most desired professions around the country. There is a major process involved when it comes to being a realtor. Making the decision to become an agent can end up becoming one of the most rewarding experiences. Nothing compares to the feeling of helping people find the home they will make many memories in. Once you have decided that real estate is your calling, follow these steps to obtain a real estate license in the state of Washington.
The state of Washington requires anyone seeking a real estate license to complete 90 hours of education. This education is broken down into two parts. The first part is 60-hour course regarding the Fundamentals of Real Estate. Across the country, realtors must complete this portion of the course. The second part of the course, which is only applicable in certain states teaches Real Estate Practices. Fortunately, you are able to complete these courses online. Organizations such as, Kaplan Education offer online programs for those seeking their license. Once you have completed all of the necessary educational course you can continue onto the exam portion.
Washington has a specific provider that proctors the exam. The Broker’s exam can be taken with Applied Measurements Professionals Inc (AMP). The school where you completed your education can pass along your proof of completion to the testing organization. Once AMP has received your credentials you are then able to apply to take the exam. You can apply for the exam online, via phone, or mail. There are various testing sites around the state. Find the one closest to you by visiting AMP’s website.
- License and Background Check
Once you have successfully passed the exam you are then able to apply for your real estate license! During your exam, you are given a fingerprinting card. With this card, you must go to one of the designated centers and get your fingerprints done. Upon receiving your clearances, you can submit your application for your license. Finally, upon receiving your license, you are allowed to start your exciting new career!
There is no doubt that having a successful real estate photo shoot for a new apartment or home you are trying to sell can be a really tricky situation. Too often photos are dark, from a strange angle, or simply fails to capture the beauty or attractiveness of the home in general.
With newer, more centralized real estate platforms such as Trulia and Zillow becoming increasingly common for agents across the country, better images are now the norm for home buyers in the digital world. Below are some ways to maximize appeal for any company on the market.
- Make the beds with linens that complement the colors of the room and overall interior.
- Clean the house: get the carpet shampooed, vacuum and mop all hardwood floors to make everything as clean as possible/visually appealing to any homebuyer’s eye.
- Don’t forget to clean the bathrooms!
- Make sure there is maximum natural and in house lighting before anyone comes to view the house or apartment.
- Remove all traces of personalized paraphernalia throughout the home so visitors can envision it as their own.
- Take the time to put away all cleaning supplies in the kitchen.
- Double check the house to see if everything has been put away in an orderly fashion.
The trickier part is definitely getting in touch and figuring out which real estate photographer is the best fit for you. Do bear in mind that photography fees vary according to experience, location and how large the property is. Connecting and meeting with various photographers is the best way to discern which professional you’d like to work with.
After the photos are taken, Chris Palmer the president of PhotoUp takes pride in the editing work his team is crafting. He has recently told the Huffington Post that “We’re the only ones out there doing this transparently, and real estate happens to be our niche. We have a team in the Philippines that work in a Google-like office. It’s a very creative environment. We find great ways to impact the photographers and the communities in which we work.”