Interested In Investing In Real Estate? Try These Tips And Tricks

Although real estate is among the most popular investment vehicles, it has pitfalls of which you must be aware. Regardless of your experience level, you need to remember the common mistakes. Use the information below to help you make profitable investments.

Once you know that you will be investing in real estate, set up an LLC or something similar. This protects you and your future investments. Additionally, you may be able to get tax benefits for your business because of your dealings.

You should know that reputation is of the utmost importance when it comes to real estate. Abide by what you say, and do not lie to possible clients. This gives you credibility and will help people to be loyal to you.

Location is the key to any real estate investment. You can change a lot of other factors. Properties in areas that are depreciating are generally bad investments. Before buying a property, learn about the neighborhood and any development plans for the area.

Find a group of other interested investors or read up on blogs from successful real estate investors. You can gain very helpful information this way. You never know, you might be able to make contact with successful individuals as well.

Consider joining an online investment group or following investment blogs. You can learn a lot this way about how to do business. You never know, you might be able to make contact with successful individuals as well.

You want to be educated concerning investing in real estate prior to making any purchases. Not being careful can lead to substantial losses. Investing in your own training is the best thing that you can do to protect yourself.

Make sure you check out the neighborhood before buying a property. Desirable neighborhoods will always hold their value, whereas depressed neighborhoods may not give you as good a return. The location is a very important thing to consider.

Don’t purchase property in neighborhoods with crime issues. Be mindful of the area in which a prospective property is. Do all of your homework in advance. Homes in bad neighborhoods are often low-priced. You might have trouble reselling, and vandalism may be problematic.

Think about using a management company to help with your properties. They do cost money, but they are often worth it in the end. Property managers can screen prospective tenants and manage repair projects. This will allow you to focus on other potential money makers.

Location is key when looking at properties to invest in. If the property location is great, but the home is not, it is still worth more than a nice home in a bad neighborhood. Keep location as well as potential in mind.

Don’t invest more than you can afford. If you are investing in rental property, you should be able to pay the mortgage even if there are empty units. It’s not smart to expect your rental income to pay your mortgage payment.

Do not forget that you may possibly need a manager to handle many of the day to day activities, such as applications and background checks. Because you will be relying on the rent to cover your mortgage, you have to ensure that the applicant has good credit. If not, you’ll risk losing money on what you invested in.

Be sure that you get advice from experts. Before bidding on a property, talk to someone experienced in real estate. Speak to appraisers or agents, for instance. The more knowledge you have, the better choices you can make.

If you want to buy a lot of properties and hold them, be sure to choose a specific area to invest in. This will reduce the transportation expense that you incur. It also lets you become more familiar with the area.

Your ventures in real estate will not pay off immediately. Keep some money in your bank. You’re also going to want to have separate income from dependable employment when you first get started. There are a lot of expenses that you may have to deal with. If you have only this source of income, your risks of going under are pretty great.

Avoid beginners when looking for the best realtors. If you want to invest in the real estate market, you have to work with someone with a lot of experience to get the best opportunities. A Realtor with experience is the way to go. So look for someone who has years of experience of who is affiliated with a reputable company.

Avoid properties that carry really high or low price tags. You won’t make much if you spend too much at first. If you want to buy cheap property, you’ll probably spend a lot on renovations. Look for properties that are moderate in price; they are usually your best bet.

Prior to purchasing a rental home, know about the local real estate market. One of the keys to renting your property promptly is not pricing the rent much higher than other comparable rentals in the neighborhood. This will put your rental unit in a less desirable light among renters, and you may end up bearing the cost longer.

See which building you can maintain best. Buying a property is just one aspect of real estate investment. You need to consider what needs to be done to maintain the property so you can sell it for a profit. Smaller homes are easier to maintain than large ones. Don’t take on anything you can’t reasonably handle.

Think about hiring a company to take care of your property. This will cost you some money, but it will save you a lot of money and a ton of headaches down the road.

Negotiation skills are essential to real estate investing success. You will make much more money this way. Read books, take classes, and do what you have to do to learn how to barter with the best of them.

Now that you have read this article, you should know more about investing in real estate. It is often a terrific way to generate income for those in the know. It’s also an excellent alternative to renting. These suggestions are a fantastic place to begin with real estate.

Investing In Real Estate: What Every Investor Should Know

Real estate is a great place to not only invest money, but to control it too. Choosing whether to rent out property has many advantages and allows you to control your income. If you would like to learn more about this area, keep reading.

As with any investment, you should do research, analyze the risks and invest wisely. Look at many different properties at your location and note various things on a spreadsheet. Things to list include current pricing, projected rent earnings, and repair budgets. This will allow you to pick out great deals instead of ones that are bad.

Have a professional inspect real estate before you buy it. Some sellers will offer to cover the inspection, but they might be using some who favors them. The inspector should be a completely neutral party.

Join an online investor group or follow forums and blogs from highly successful investors in real estate. This will help you learn useful strategies. You can even contact the expert directly.

If you want to start investing in real estate, think about the amount of time you have available for managing properties. Tenant problems can be extremely time consuming. If you feel as if you don’t have the time needed, consider hiring a property management company.

Do not forget that you may possibly need a manager to handle many of the day to day activities, such as applications and background checks. Make sure they are qualified and honest. If not, you’ll risk losing money on what you invested in.

You want to be educated concerning investing in real estate prior to making any purchases. Not being careful can lead to substantial losses. Investing in your own training is the best thing that you can do to protect yourself.

Consider how much you’ll make off of rent when considering how much a property is worth. Renting a home can make you a significant amount of money. Then, you can resell it later fort a huge gross profit.

You must know what to spend your time doing. You may enjoy renovating properties, but is the time you’re spending on it time well spent? Would your time be better used searching for new properties? Whenever it is possible to delegate tasks, do not hesitate. It’s worth freeing up your time for the more important aspects of your business.

Think about using a management company to help with your properties. They do cost money, but they are often worth it in the end. Property managers can screen prospective tenants and manage repair projects. This will allow you to focus on other potential money makers.

Avoid purchasing properties in bad neighborhoods. Be mindful of the area in which a prospective property is. Do your research. If a deal seems too good, that may mean it’s located in a bad neighborhood. You might have trouble reselling, and vandalism may be problematic.

Understand the neighborhood prior to making any purchasing decisions. The location as well as zoning laws is essential to success. Talk with neighbors before putting in an offer.

Begin with investing in one property. You might be tempted to buy multiple properties right off the bat, but that can have drastic consequences when you’re a beginner. Focus on quality at first with only one property. This will be of great benefit to you and your success.

Sign up with a good listing service for foreclosures, so you can know when the best deals come up. You can let the service keep you informed instead of constantly checking with agents, lenders, and courts. These will usually be very up-to-date.

It’s best to buy properties in the local areas that you know. This will minimize risk since you’ll already have a good feeling for the neighborhood. You don’t have to worry about what goes on in your rental property because you live nearby. This gives you more control over the property.

When calculating profits, always factor in the costs of repairs that the inspection dictated as necessary. You will have to make most general repairs before selling a property. If you want to rent the property to someone, you have to think about how much maintenance will be. Just make sure to give yourself a cushion when calculating potential profits.

A major determining factor for your investment locations is researching vacancies in an area. If your property is surrounded by vacant properties, chances are that people may not want to move in to yours either.

You don’t want to use up too much time when considering any certain real estate investment. Any deal that eats up your schedule is not actually going to be a deal in the end. It could be a sign that you are not pounding the pavement hard enough to have other deals on tap.

It’s a big responsibility to invest in real estate. You probably want to get going as young as you can to maximize your potential, but you need to be on stable ground first, too. Start building a solid foundation in the local community, save up money and make new connections with people. Do this to lay a solid foundation for success in real estate investing.

Beware of properties that are fixer uppers. If a house just needs a small amount of work, it can be a good deal. However, homes that need work often turn into giant money pits that eat up your time and money. Make sure you research the property and do the math involved.

Before you start looking for a property to invest in, decide what type of property you want. Decide if you want to flip, rehab or be someone who buys and holds. Knowing what you’re looking for will increase the speed with which you’re able to do business.

Negotiation skills are essential to real estate investing success. You will make much more money this way. Read books, take classes, and do what you have to do to learn how to barter with the best of them.

You can be sure that you’re making good decisions when you take the time to research investments in real estate. The information listed above will help you make wise choices and help prevent failure. Be methodical and plan out your moves so that you can succeed in achieving your goals.

Stop Searching For Answers About Real Estate Investing: This Article Has Them And More

There are many different outlets available for you to make investments. However, real estate is another profitable investment possibility. See how you can become a profitable real estate investor by taking a look at the solid tips in the following article. You’ll be an expert before you know it.

Learn all you can before you start investing in real estate. This is crucial, as you need to learn the many tips and strategies that are involved with this business. It is recommended that you research as much information as possible to better your chances of success.

Do not invest in real estate without having a professional inspect the property for damage. Sellers may use professionals that are biased towards them. Instead, choose a neutral party or someone you trust.

Take time to do investing, and take time to learn about it. If you want to make money, you might have to cut something out of your life. Shove the poker night or softball league aside to become a successful investor.

As you develop your business strategies, you should always remember that there are a number of costs outside of the home’s price. You’ll have to cover closing costs, legal fees, and pay for staging. All that will have to come out of your budget. When you are calculating your margins, make certain you add all your costs to the line item list you are making.

When looking at your business strategy, understand your sunk costs that go beyond the general price of the home. There are closing costs, legal fees, staging costs, and other items that can greatly affect your profits. These items should be included in the negotiation process.

Be leery of properties where the price is too good to be true. It may be difficult to sell, even after extensive remodeling. Try spending some time to get something better that can help you earn your money back.

Exercise plenty of patience in the beginning. You might find that your first transaction takes some time. Perhaps there just aren’t any properties that people like, or there aren’t good terms. Never let your guard down and settle on a sale. This can actually lose you money in the long run. Wait it out until a great investment comes along.

You may want to consider a company that specializes in managing properties. Doing so does eat into your profit margin, but there are advantages to this expense. This company will handle repairs and screen potential renters. This frees up time to look for more properties.

Find an online forum for real estate investors and sign up before you dive into the real estate market. Also, reading the blogs of the established professionals in the real estate business can be of great help. You can learn a lot this way about how to do business. You can learn a lot this way and even develop valuable working relationships.

You should always remember the cost of expenses, such as property inspections and repairs, when projecting your profits. If you want to resell the property, you will have to make necessary repairs before hand. If you plan to rent it out, set aside a maintenance budget, as well. No matter what, you always need a financial cushion in order to get a realistic picture of potential profits.

Foreclosure listing services are something you will want to look into. This saves time and you can avoid unnecessary calls to lenders, agents and courthouses. Usually, this is where you get the most up-to-date properties.

It is wise to not let your investment properties demand too much of your management time. Time is money. Don’t waste it. Really take some time to see who you will be renting to. Try to only invest in properties that have demonstrated histories of reputable and responsible tenants.

Are rents up in the area where you are buying? Are rentals full? Depending on the priorities you have for a property, it is important to focus on two things. Never get your hopes up too high, whether you want to flip the house or rent it.

You can diversify your portfolio by buying real estate in other countries, states, and areas, but you should also consider looking into those in your local area. Since you know your area well, it is best to look for opportunities there. At least, this is where you should start.

Never leverage yourself out completely when trying to get that next real estate deal underway. Always make sure you have reserve cash in case something happens that you do not expect. If you fly by the seat of your pants with no capital on hand, you will eventually crash and burn.

Keep emotions out of play while you are negotiating. Keep in mind that homes you buy as investments are not places where you are going to live. Emotional buying can cause you to overpay on an investment property. This advice will help you make money!

Discern what type of building is optimal for you to keep up personally. You can’t just run out and buy any property. You must consider maintenance to sell it in the future. A house that’s one story won’t be as hard to work with as a multi-level building, for instance. Never overextend yourself in your real estate endeavors.

A good way to find out if an area is a good financial investment is by looking at the number of vacancies. If you see a lot of vacant businesses and apartments near it, then it may not make you much rental money.

Find a building that you can maintain properly. Buying a property is only part of what real estate investment is about. After that, you have to consider maintaining and improving the property for good resale. For instance, a multi-family dwelling is more difficult to maintain than a ranch-style home. Don’t overwhelm yourself.

As with any investment, real estate comes with responsibilities. It is good to start while you’re young, but not if you are not financially stable yet. Establish yourself in a community and begin saving money and making connections. This is a great foundation for becoming a successful investor in real estate.

You can try predicting when you will sell a house, but you will not be right all the time. Be aware of this when assessing your risk when purchasing a property. Will there be an initial cash layout or will it be financed? What interest rate will you have to pay? Will you be renting before you sell?

Be excited instead of intimidated about investing your money. There are lots of possibilities, no matter what area of real estate you are interested in. By taking in as much knowledge as you can, your chosen investment opportunity will be a fantastic one. Keep these pointers handy in order to get the outcomes you desire!

Finding Success By Investing In The Real Estate Market

A great way to invest money is real estate. Choosing a property to rent out has lots of perks that can help you take control. If you’re interested in this kind of venture, read on for great tips.

Once you are sure that your investments will be in real estate, you should set up either an LLC or a similar entity. This will allow you to be protected along with any investment you may make. Also ,you may be able to get qualified for tax benefits when you do business in certain things.

If you are comparing industrial or retail properties, consider these two guidelines. First, you shouldn’t overpay for where you buy things. Next you never want to pay more than it is worth. Think seriously about the “as is” value of the property and what rental income could be ascertained. Both numbers need to be good for you to buy this property.

Do not purchase anything that has not been inspected by an unbiased professional. Also, never use an inspector offered by the seller. Hire someone you know and trust, or get a neutral party to inspect it.

Never think that a property’s value is just going to rise every time. This assumption is risky in the real estate market and for any one piece of property. Only invest in those that give you an almost immediate cash flow. Property value appreciation will help you invest in future properties.

Listen during a negotiation instead of talking. Sometimes a person will negotiate against himself if you just let him keep on talking. As well, by listening, you’ll be more apt to catch the exact right positioning that you need to get the price that you want.

Read blogs about real estate to learn the tricks of this trade. This will help you learn useful strategies. There is a chance you may be able to speak to them personally also.

If you buy a property to rent it, be careful who you rent it to. Make sure your tenants pay you a deposit and first and last month’s rent. If they are not able to get the cash together, chances are, they will also fall behind on their rent. Keep on looking for a tenant.

Be patient when you are first starting out. You might find that your first transaction takes some time. Perhaps there just aren’t any properties that people like, or there aren’t good terms. Don’t be overly anxious to close a deal when everything isn’t just right. That’s not smart investing. Wait until the perfect opportunity comes along.

Never purchase a property because you just want to add to the amount you own. This is a habit among novice investors in real estate, but you’ll learn that having more isn’t exactly better. You should always have the mindset of quality over quantity. This can protect your investments’ integrity.

Real estate investors generally experience both highs and lows. It’s essential you don’t let the lows determine your fate. Be persistent and you will be successful. Always remember to keep educating yourself on real estate investing, and soon enough success will surely follow.

Start with just one property. You may want to start big, but don’t bite off more than you can deal with. Instead, you should begin by getting a single property and then give yourself time to figure out how to invest well. This can help you with all your future investments.

Think about taking your business further by getting properties for businesses instead of getting only residential places. Properties that are businesses can help you get rentals in the long term, and you can make a lot off of them. You can even get a small strip mall or a complex for a business, and this presents a lot of options when you decide to invest in properties.

It is important that you start out slow in the beginning. It may take a while to get your first good real estate deal. There may not be any decent properties available, or you might be finding the terms not to your liking. Refrain from stressing out if this happen to you. It’s a waste of time and money to go after the wrong deal. Wait until a better deal comes along.

Look at your options with business properties as well as residential. You can earn quite a lot of money over the long term by investing in business properties. You can even get a small strip mall or a complex for a business, and this presents a lot of options when you decide to invest in properties.

Be sure that you get advice from experts. Consult an experienced pro before you ever bid on a particular property. You have a few options as it could be another investor, an agent or someone who appraises properties. This expert can help you to make a wise decision.

Investing always comes with some sacrifices. Real estate investing can take up lots of time. You may have to give up some of your playtime, but the payoff will be worth it. Once your goals are met you can look into these things.

Is your area experiencing a property value increase? Are rentals full? Depending on what you plan on doing with the property, you need to concern yourself with these two questions. You will want to know exactly how you are attaining your profits.

Get expert help. You want to talk to someone in the local real estate industry that is familiar with a property before you make a bid. For instance, you can speak with a real estate appraiser or agent. These experts will assist in your decision making.

Your ventures in real estate will not pay off immediately. Ensure that you have cash available to cover these early stages. You should probably keep your job when you first get started so you can show you have solid income. Unexpected expenses are always going to arise when you’re investing in real estate. Without a stable income, you can fall behind.

You may have to sacrifice to ensure success. You may have a dream for a renovation of the house you want to flip, but prices can get out of hand quick. In order to be successful, you may have to make some sacrifices. Be prepared to compromise and to give up some of your small goals in pursuit of your larger ones.

You can try predicting when you will sell a house, but you will not be right all the time. Be aware of this when assessing your risk when purchasing a property. Will there be an initial cash layout or will it be financed? What interest rate will you have to pay? Will you be renting before you sell?

There are lucrative opportunities in real estate, but only if you know what you are doing. Now you have just the information you need! Make sure you review everything carefully to start your real estate investing career.

What Every Real Estate Investor Should Know

Real estate investing can be a tricky market to enter into, no matter if the person has experience or not. If you are looking for solid tips on investing, you have come to the right article. Read on for some helpful ideas to see success in your real estate investments.

You reputation is undeniably one of your best assets, and you need to protect it. Abide by what you say, and do not lie to possible clients. That way, everyone in town will know that you can be trusted.

If you are comparing industrial or retail properties, consider these two guidelines. First, you shouldn’t overpay for where you buy things. Next you never want to pay more than it is worth. Think seriously about the “as is” value of the property and what rental income could be ascertained. Both numbers need to be good for you to buy this property.

Find like-minded people and learn from them. There are a lot of people out there that want to get into investing in real estate. There are many groups focusing solely on real estate investing. If you can’t find one nearby, there are several forums online that you can find helpful information. Get in the mix and learn from your peers.

Search out and speak with other investors. This will give you a stronger foundation than just reading books. It can be useful to have a few real estate investor friends. Search out like-minded people online. Find forums to be active on and find meetings in your area.

Keep with a specific niche that you like. You will find more success by focusing on a single market segment, as opposed to taking on varied projects. You have a better chance of success if you focus your efforts on one area.

Consider rental values as you determine how much any given property is worth. This can allow you to make thousands of dollars during the course of the year from people who are staying in your place. Then you can resell the home for a larger gross profit.

Exercise patience as you get your investment plan going. It could be a while before you score your first deal. You may not see anything you are interested in or you may not be able to agree on the terms of a sale. Don’t get anxious and invest in less than perfect scenarios. That’s just wasting your money. Wait for the perfect opportunity.

Join online investment groups or locate blogs of real estate investors that are successful, globally. This will help you learn useful strategies. There is a chance you may be able to speak to them personally also.

If you become a seasoned real estate investor, there are certain to be ups and downs. Do not be discouraged by the bad times you may encounter. If you are persistent, you will succeed. Push forward, learn more, and always keep trying so that you can accomplish your goals.

If you want to purchase different properties, make sure to do it in a certain geographical location. This way you don’t have to spend a bunch of gas and time to travel between your properties. Plus, you’ll become a local expert on the property in your favorite market.

You must make sure that you’re up to date on your bookkeeping. It can be all too easy to overlook your books, especially if you are just getting started. There are a lot of other things to worry about. Make sure that you keep the books right. If you get on track now, you can save yourself some trouble later on.

Think about adding business properties to your investment goals. Commercial properties can amount to rentals for the long term, which can be very lucrative. Business complexes and strip malls are a few ideas; both open up the door to great ventures.

If you’re trying to invest in a few different properties in the future, be sure they’re all in a good area. This way you don’t have to spend a bunch of gas and time to travel between your properties. You will also learn lots about the area you are buying real estate in.

Figure out what type of building you can maintain with ease. Real estate investing is more than buying property. After that, you have to consider maintaining and improving the property for good resale. One-story homes are easier to work on than two-story homes. Don’t take on more than you know you can tackle.

Make sure that you follow all of the real estate laws. You will find legalities differ from one town to another. It is in your best interest to be up to date. Before you put down any money, make sure you contact all necessary officials and are aware of and compliant with any relevant regulations.

Be leery of houses that need work done to them. You should buy a place that requires little work if you want to make money. As often happens though, most homes like this drain money and time quickly. Be sure that you research it well and do the math.

Determine whether you wish to make a long term or short term commitment to a property. The quantity of money needed for each endeavor can vary greatly. If you plan on buying a property that needs a lot of work, think about the costs of those repairs when factoring in how much potential profit there is when the renovation is complete. If you plan on holding onto the property for some time, you can choose to put more money into it.

One great way to think about if neighborhoods are worth buying into is to search near them to see if there are any vacancies. Should you find that there is an abundance of empty businesses as well as home and apartment rentals in the area, this should be a caution to you that your own property could end up with the same fate.

Make sure to keep money saved to pay mortgage when there is a vacancy on your properties. Having funds designated for this purpose allows you to rest easy in the knowledge that you can pay the mortgage while searching for a new tenant.

Avoid making a costly mistake due to your lack of knowledge. For that reason, it pays to hire a professional. You’ll need to pay for this, but it beats entering the market blindly.

You can try predicting when you will sell a house, but you will not be right all the time. Be aware of this when assessing your risk when purchasing a property. Will there be an initial cash layout or will it be financed? What interest rate will you have to pay? Will you be renting before you sell?

Having read this article, you are ready to start wheeling and dealing. You can do well, you just have to be persistent. Learning more will pay off, so always look for great information like what you have read here.

5 Home Upgrades That Won’t Add Enough Value

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Gardens, Tuscany, Italy


If you’re hoping to increase your home’s value (above and beyond the cost of an upgrade itself), you should know that the upgrades you value might not be valuable to potential buyers. In fact, you may never recoup the full cost of some home improvements, and the primary offenders might surprise you!

What five common upgrades have the worst return on investment? Find out below.

1. Adding a pool

Pools can be hit-or-miss when it comes to added value. If you’re selling Orlando, FL, real estate, or you live in a warm climate where people are inclined to use a pool year-round, you’re more likely to get a favorable response from buyers. Often, however, the return is not enough to pay for the pool itself. Don’t forget that you’ll need to operate and maintain the pool, and this comes with a sizable extra cost. Ultimately, your likelihood of recouping the money you spent on maintenance, in addition to the installation costs, is pretty low.

Plus, adding a pool to your home could be a major turnoff to some buyers. Buyers with small children may be concerned about safety risks, those looking for a low-maintenance yard won’t want to deal with the hassle and upkeep of cleaning a pool, and buyers who are on a tight budget may not have the extra cash to deal with the added expense.

2. Highly custom design decisions

Your idea of a dream kitchen probably isn’t everyone’s idea of a dream kitchen. Unless you plan to stay in your house for many years to come, think twice about renovations that are too personalized. If you install a kitchen backsplash, you might recoup the cost, because the difference between “no backsplash” and “backsplash” is noticeable. But the specific type of tile might not matter to buyers – they could be just as happy with a simple ceramic tile as they would with an expensive Calacatta marble tile. Similarly, choosing a beveled countertop edge that’s complex and ornate, rather than a basic beveled edge, can turn off buyers whose tastes don’t align with yours.

In fact, these custom features may wind up costing you come listing time, as many buyers will factor in the money they’ll need to spend to change the house to suit their own tastes. If you’re going to upgrade your kitchen just for the sake of selling, stick with neutral, builder-grade design decisions.

3. Room conversions

Buyers will be looking to check certain boxes when they tour your home: For example, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a garage. Getting rid of these expected spaces (or altering them into something unusual) may harm your resale value. Every bedroom, for instance, is coveted space that can bump your listing up into the next bracket. Buyers are looking for a two-bedroom, three-bedroom, or four-or-more-bedroom home.

You might not need that extra room and dream of knocking down a wall to create a giant walk-in closet. Or perhaps you’d prefer to cover the walls with soundproof foam and convert it into a recording studio. Unfortunately, most buyers won’t share your interests. Instead, they prefer an extra bedroom for children or guests.

4. Incremental square footage gains

Sizable square footage gains – like finishing your dingy basement so it becomes an additional livable floor – can be a boon in buyers’ minds. But tiny, incremental changes may not give you much of a return on your investment. You may love your new sunroom, but it’s not likely to drastically increase your home’s overall value. Adding square footage in a way that doesn’t flow well with the floor plan can also backfire. Sure, a half bath on the first floor would be useful, but if buyers have to pass through the kitchen to get to it, the half bath loses some of its appeal.

5. Overimproving

No one wants to buy a mega-mansion on a block full of split-levels. When your upgrades feel overboard for your neighborhood, you alienate buyers on two fronts: Buyers who are drawn to your neighborhood won’t be able to afford your home, and buyers who can afford a home of your caliber will prefer to be in a ritzier area. Keep the “base level” of your neighborhood in mind. Tour some open houses on your block to see how your neighbors’ kitchens look before you invest a small fortune in granite countertops and high-end fixtures. Being a little nicer than the other houses around you can be a selling point, but being vastly more luxurious is not.

Pursue these home upgrades for your own enjoyment – but don’t trick yourself into believing you’ll more than recoup the cost of the improvement in the form of a much larger listing price when it comes time to sell. You can always opt for the projects that have the best potential to draw in a buyer instead!

What home upgrades have been worth it for you? Share your tips in the comments below!


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10 Ways to Turn Off Potential Buyers

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Couple looking at properties in window of real estate agency


As a result of our obsession with photos and visuals today, buyers make judgments of homes immediately. Many will do their first showing online, so if your photos turn them off, they may never step foot inside.

Sellers need to go to great lengths to get buyers in the door. If you can get them through, it’s the small (and often obvious) things that will keep them interested. Though it’s a home first and foremost, it’s also an investment. Make changes or alterations that could turn off a buyer, and you risk hurting your bottom line.

If you’re planning to put your house on the market, be aware of these 10 ways you might be turning off potential buyers.

1. Turn your garage into a family room.

A family room might be attractive – to a family. But if you’ve sacrificed the garage, the trade-off might be a turn-off, especially to people who don’t have kids or who live in dense urban areas, where parking is at a premium. Even in the suburbs, most people want a covered, secure place to park their cars.

Don’t forget that a garage often doubles as a storage location, housing everything from the lawn mower to excess paper towels and cleansers. If you go glam with your garage, you’re likely to force a buyer to look elsewhere.

2. Convert a bedroom into a something other than a bedroom.

Aside from location and price, one of the first things a buyer searches for is number of bedrooms. Why? Because it’s a fundamental requirement.

You might think that having a wine cellar with built-in refrigerators in your home will make it attractive to potential buyers because it was attractive to you. But that’s not for everyone.

And while it’s true many people work from home today, at least part of the time, that doesn’t mean they want a dedicated home office -especially one with built-in desks or bookcases they can’t easily remove.

If you must convert a bedroom into something else, make sure you can readily change it back into a bedroom when you go to sell. If you have lots of bedrooms, buyers might be more forgiving. But a buyer who needs three might see your custom home office as a turn-off.

3. Lay down carpet over hardwood floors.

People like hardwood floors. They look cleaner, add a design element, don’t show dirt as much, and consumers with allergies prefer them over carpets.

If you have gleaming hardwood floors, show them off. Let the buyer decide if she wants to cover them. It’s easier for her to purchase new carpeting of her choosing than to get past yours.

4. Install over-the-top light fixtures.

A beautiful chandelier can enliven a dining room. But it can also turn off buyers who prefer simpler, less ornate fixtures.

Did you fall in love with a dark light fixture on a trip to Casablanca? That’s great. And you should use it for your enjoyment. But when it comes time to sell, replace it with something more neutral.

Modern interior decoration beautiful ceiling lights

Remember, you want to appeal to the masses when your home is for sale. You want to stand out from a crowded field of sellers – but in the right way.

5. Turn your kid’s room into a miniature theme park.

Little kids have big imaginations. They tend to love Disney characters, spaceships, and superheroes, and their parents are often all-too-willing to turn their rooms into fantasy caves.

A 2 years old boy playing in his bedroom

But the more you transform a child’s bedroom into something resembling a Disneyland ride, the more you’ll turn off most potential buyers. Your buyer might have teenage children, and see the removal of wallpaper, paint or little-kid-inspired light fixtures as too much work.

If you can, neutralize the kids’ rooms before you go on the market.

6. Add an above-ground pool.

Does it get hot in the summer where you live? Wish you had a backyard pool, but can’t afford to have a “real” pool installed? Then you might be tempted to buy and set up an above-ground pool.


For most buyers, though, these pools are an eyesore. Also, an above-ground pool can leave a big dead spot of grass in your backyard – another eyesore.

If you must have it, consider dismantling it before going on the market. Of course, be sure you’re ready to sell, or you may be stuck without a place to cool off next summer.

7. Leave dirty dishes in the sink.

A kitchen full of dirty dishes is not only unattractive, but it sends a strong message to the buyer: You don’t care about your home.

my flatmate hasn't done the chores again

If your home is for sale, buyers will be coming through, and you want to impress them. Would you keep dirty dishes in the sink for your in-laws or overnight guests? Probably not. Then why wouldn’t you clean up for your potential customers?

Putting your home up for sale, and keeping it on the market, is work. If you aren’t cut out for it, considering holding off until you are ready to clean up for the buyers.

8. Make buyers take off their shoes.

This turn-off cuts both ways. As an agent, I always hated being forced to take my shoes off in someone else’s home – until I sold my own. Not only was it inconvenient, but also I wasn’t happy about my socks picking up a random homeowner’s dirt, pet hair and dust.

Once I became a first-time home seller, and one with sparkling new hardwood floors and carpet, I couldn’t imagine allowing dirt and grime from the outside world to dirty up my floors.
So what’s the compromise? Shoe covers from a medical supply store. Buyers and agents don’t need to take off their shoes, simply cover them. It’s a win-win for everyone.

9. Smoke cigarettes in every room of your house – for years.

Over time, the smell of smoke permeates your home. It gets into the carpet, drapes, wood paneling – just about everywhere. And that’s a big turn-off to most buyers today.

Getting rid of the smoke smell can be a big job. If you’re a smoker, seriously consider how you want to present your home to the market. For a long-term smoke-filled home, it means painting, removing carpets, and doing lots of deep cleaning. If you don’t do it, don’t expect to get top dollar for your home.

10. Keep Fido’s bed and toys front and center.

Family pets bring a lot of joy to the home. But they don’t always bring the same joy to a prospective buyer. Dog’s toys, filled with saliva, dirt and dust, can be a sore both for the eyes and the nose.

Dog and Toys

If you have a pet, put a plan in place to move the food and water bowls as well as the toys and dog’s bed to a better location, like in the garage.

It’s your home – for now

Part of the joy of owning a home is that you can do whatever you want with it, to it, and in it. You should enjoy it. But if you want to sell it quickly and for top dollar down the road, try to picture how others might react to any renovations, additions or modifications you make.

The more specific you get – such as turning your kid’s room into a miniature castle – the harder it will be to sell your home later, and the less return on investment you’ll get. When considering changes to your home, always consider resale.


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Chris Hemsworth Trades Malibu for Oz, Leaving a $6.5M Listing in His Dust

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It’s a listing fit for a god – and his young family.

Chris Hemsworth and actress Elsa Pataky have moved with their three young children to his native Australia, leaving their own private Valhalla – a spacious estate in Malibu – in their dust.

The couple is asking $6.5 million for the secluded home they bought from another Aussie, “Crocodile Dundee” star Paul Hogan, in Malibu’s coveted Point Dume neighborhood.

“I know Chris and his brothers very well – I helped Liam find his house in Malibu – and they’re wonderful to work with, salt of the earth,” said listing agent Ryan Davis of the John Aaroe Group’sAaroe Estates.
Point Dume, known by tourists for its rocky promontory along the beach, is popular among locals for its excellent preschool and elementary school, Davis said. It also offers a plaza with a grocery store, coffee shop and other amenities that make the rural scale of Malibu more convenient.

The 6,800-square-foot home, renovated by the crocodile wrangler before People’s Sexist Man Alive and his wife bought it, features a grand gourmet kitchen with soaring ceilings, a fireplace, a giant center island and tons of storage – including exposed shelves for showing off decorative glassware or an otherworldly hammer.

An expansive master suite boasts two walk-in closets, a seating area and a private lanai with mountain and ocean views. Three additional en-suite bedrooms are ideal for children and visiting Australian brothers, plus there’s a guest house, a bonus bedroom, office spaces and a library.


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Want Your Security Deposit Back? Ask These 6 Questions

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close up of male hand packing...


When you’ve just landed a new apartment in Boston, MA, a security deposit is kind of like the pile of work on your desk at 5 p.m. on a Friday. You could push it aside for now, but you’ll still have to deal with it on Monday (or when it’s time to move out). But until that time comes, it’s easy to be distracted with decorating, meeting the neighbors, and celebrating your new place.

However, it’s important to be proactive so you can help ensure you’ll get back every penny you deserve – and you can’t just assume the security deposit will let you “live out the last month,” either. That concept exists only in tenants’ minds and isn’t really a thing (ever) … unless your landlord has agreed to it.

Here are six important questions to ask before you sign the lease that can help save you some dough.

1. Does your landlord want the place returned spotless?

Your landlord might be the white-glove type that meticulously checks for cleanliness, and not just by putting on a white glove and inspecting for dust. They might expect a sparkling-clean oven, microwave, and fridge (and freshly spackled and touched-up walls). Find out by asking your landlord what they expect at move-out time. If you’re a bit of a slob, you might want to pay a cleaning service to scour your place before you move out. That way, you control how much you spend instead of leaving a mess for the landlord to clean … and to charge you for. Don’t leave dilapidated furniture behind. If the landlord has to discard it, expect to pay for any charges incurred.

2. What is normal wear and tear?

If you’ve lived in a place for several years, it won’t look as good as the day you moved in. The carpet will show wear, the paint will fade or show smudges, and there might be small nicks here and there on the walls. These things are just normal wear and tear – stuff that happens over time in any home or apartment. The landlord shouldn’t charge you for that. In other words, the landlord can’t remodel the place on your dime. But if the wear and tear is excessive and outright damage has occurred (wine or vomit stains on the carpet, the unmistakable odor of cat pee, a child’s “artwork” painted directly on the walls, broken doors or holes in walls from who knows what), that’s on you and will come out of your security deposit.

3. What’s the charge for repainting?

Were the walls in your rental just painted, but you already know that you simply cannot live with those “builder beige” tones without losing your mind? You might not have to cover the walls in floor-to-ceiling artwork. If you wish to paint the walls a soothing aqua chiffon or maybe a lovely hyacinth, you first need permission from the landlord. If you get the A-OK, you’ll either need to paint the walls back to beige before you move out or let the landlord take a repainting fee from your security deposit. Unless you know how to prep walls for painting like a pro and can be certain you won’t get paint on trim, baseboards, or anywhere else it shouldn’t be, let your landlord do it. Once you know upfront how much they’ll charge you for the privilege of painting, those beige walls might start to look kind of nice.

4. Who is responsible for lawn maintenance?

Lawn maintenance is a tricky area for renters and a subject that should be spelled out explicitly in the lease. If it isn’t, generally speaking, when you rent a multifamily unit, the landlord is responsible for lawn care. If you rent a single-family home, you are probably responsible for the upkeep of the grounds. But there’s upkeep and then there’s upkeep. What you consider kept up might not be what the landlord has in mind. Find out, for example, how often you need to mow the lawn and whether you need to water it, trim bushes and shrubs, and keep weeds under control. If there is any doubt, maintain the property of the house you’re renting as you would your own house.

If the landlord needs to spend money to get the grounds in the same shape as when you moved in, that will come out of your security deposit. Keep in mind that maintaining is one thing, but making the yard your own is another. Get permission before you plant a flower or vegetable garden, and know that any bushes or trees you plant should stay with the house when you move.

5. What about pets?

Pets can cause damage. Cats might ruin the carpet by using it as a scratching post, and dogs sometimes dig holes in the yard. Landlords know this, which is why some don’t allow pets. The ones who do might charge a pet deposit (if your state allows it). If you paid a pet deposit, the landlord uses it, not the security deposit, to pay for any pet-related damage. If you weren’t charged a separate pet deposit, the landlord can use the security deposit to repair any pet damage.

6. What if something breaks?

If you spot a problem, tell your landlord right away, whether you caused it and need to pay for it through your security deposit or whether the repair is one the landlord pays for. Either way, if you neglect to tell the landlord and said problem later turns into a disaster, you could be on the hook for the excessive damage. For example, if you spot water coming in from a leaky roof, the landlord needs to fix it right away, and they will pay for it. But if you don’t report the dripping water and a mold problem eventually develops, those mold-removal costs could very well be on you.

Bottom line

The closer you can get to having your place look just the way it did when you moved in (take photos!), the more likely you’ll be to get your full security deposit back. But if the landlord does keep some or all of your security deposit, they almost always need to present you with an itemized receipt detailing the reasons. How long landlords have to get this done varies by state, so familiarize yourself with your state’s laws. If you don’t get your security deposit back or a written explanation as to why not, write to your landlord and ask for your security deposit. If that doesn’t work, you may want to take your landlord to small claims court. You’ll probably get your deposit back that way. In some states, landlords must also pay you a penalty fee in such cases.

Do you have a tip for getting back a security deposit? Let us know in the comments!


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Prepare Your Home Now If You Plan to Sell It This Spring

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Home For Sale Sign in Front of New House


Selling a home doesn’t happen overnight. To maximize your sale price, stand out from the competition and sell quickly, your home needs to go on the market in tip-top condition.

You only get one chance to make a good first impression in real estate. Once your home’s listing goes live, the days on market start ticking. In the Internet age, with access to so much information, buyers will punish a seller whose home has been on the market for many months. If you can’t make the effort to get your home in it’s best condition, hold off on listing it.

Prepping the home rarely happens in one weekend. It takes time and thoughtful planning. If you intend to sell your home this spring, here are a few steps you need to take now.


It may seem counterintuitive to spend money on a property inspection, but you need to know about your home’s condition. If there are issues – big or small – you need to address, it is better to know about them early so you can either remedy them prior to going to market or account for them with a lower listing price.

The last thing you want is for the buyer to uncover flaws once they are under contract. You will get stuck paying more under those circumstances than it would cost you to address the issues now.


As you prepare to sell, think of your home as an investment and start to see it through the eyes of potential buyers and the market. When you’re trying to sell your home, the less-is-more approach applies.

Put away big furniture and personal items. Store or put away all the things you won’t be using until you move into your new home. In the kitchen, make space in the cabinets for items you will need to use daily, but will want to put away for showings.


It’s common for sellers to make cosmetic improvements before they list. Kitchens and bathrooms sell your home. Plan to have the bathroom grout cleaned and have some parts of the house painted to give it a fresh look.

Consider cleaning rugs, refinishing hardwood floors or painting kitchen cabinets. If you plan to list in the spring, you likely have a good local real estate agent on your side by now. Get their advice and ask for referrals to do the work. There are lots of inexpensive contractors who can help spruce up your home quickly.


Today’s buyers have research in their DNA and will investigate all they can. Check with your local building department and ensure there are no outstanding issues with your home.

Verify that property records reflect your home accurately, and prepare to remedy any discrepancy. Make sure your title report is clean, and talk about potential disclosure items with your agent. Banks won’t lend if there are outstanding issues, and you don’t want to jump through hoops at the eleventh hour. Researching now will keep you one step ahead of the buyers.

The sale of your home is likely one of your biggest financial transactions. Get a real estate agent on your team early, and make a list of all the tasks you need to complete before listing this spring. Now is the time to have those discussions. Smart planning and a good strategy will ensure a quick, painless and profitable home sale.


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