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4 Ways to Spot a Problem Tenant

When renting a property to someone, unfortunately, you have to be a little judgmental. As a part of your job, you have to be attentive to people’s characteristics and background/history in order to determine if they are the best candidate to rent your property to. Most of the time, a majority of the people you may come across to rent to are decent and good candidates that will end up not being of any trouble at all. While this may be the case, however, this doesn’t mean that you won’t encounter a prospective tenant that could be a problem at some point in your career.

Dealing with someone who shows interest in your property but also displays signs that they could prove to be problematic in the future is not easy by any means. Despite this, if you pay close enough attention, you’ll be able to spot the signs early enough which will ultimately make the process easier. If you are a landlord/property manager nervous about detecting the signs of potential problem tenant, check out my five warning signs below!

Before we delve into how to spot the signs, first, it’s important to recognize what the laws are regarding you, the tenant and your jobs. Lindsey Schober of Zillow makes an important note, stating, “Each state and municipality has unique laws and ordinances. Make sure you have a clear understanding of your landlord rights and responsibilities, tenant rights, and the basic workings of specific notices and eviction procedures. Work with an attorney to set up your policies and procedures.” Once you have a decent understanding of your rights as a landlord as well as the rights of any of your tenants, you will not only feel more confident about the selection process, but you will also feel better about handling a tenant in the case they pose a significant problem.

Now that you have an understanding of your rights and responsibilities, you can easily spot these five problem signs of a potential tenant:

1. Payment History/Credit: One of the determining factors when renting a property to someone is having a decent or good credit score. Though it may be unfair at times, many property managers and landlords use credit scores as a means of determining whether or not a tenant can be reliable in their payments and responsible while living in your property. A warning sign of a bad tenant can be a hesitancy to conduct a credit score or a credit score that shows a history of late payments. According to the staff at Upad, if you think you may have a problem, “Speak to the tenant and ask them if there’s a problem and remind them that the rent should always be paid by the due date. However, if you get a couple of late payments in a row, you should ask them directly if they’re having difficulty with the rent and discuss how you can sort this out.”

2. Friend/Family Member: You may be asking yourself, “what could be so wrong about having a friend or family member as a tenant?” Having a friend or family member as a tenant isn’t an instant horror, however, it can be dangerous. Have you ever heard of the phrase, “don’t mix family and business”? Well, there is a reason why that phrase exists. Unfortunately, in some cases when this happens, it becomes hard to uphold your status as the landlord and makes it harder for you to keep your relationship separate. In the long run, try to avoid this so you ultimately don’t ruin a relationship!

3. Criminal History: Background checks are wonderful things; they tell you anything you could want to know about a possible tenant to help narrow down your selection process. If a prospective tenant has a criminal history that makes you uncomfortable, in a majority of states, you can deny them based on their past criminal offenses. However, in states like California, you cannot discriminate against those who have been convicted of nonviolent crimes, according to Erin Eberlin of the Balance.

4. False Contacts: In almost all cases, most landlords/property managers ask for at least one or a few references to help in evaluating a tenant. Most people do not have a problem with this, however, those who can potentially be problem tenants may provide false contacts like friends or family members to pose as references to make themselves look better. To combat this, Chris of LandlordTalking notes, “One of the best ways to avoid this scam is to ask for multiple landlord references, including the current landlord. Come up with some preliminary questions to ask the contact during the interview. What will seem like small talk may actually tip you off to a fraudulent reference.”

While the process of evaluating a tenant may be difficult and exhausting, to notice the signs of a potentially bad tenant will only prove to help you in the long run. As always, good luck!

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

Five Steps To Avoid Illegally Evicting Your Tenants

One of the biggest risks related to owning investment properties is dealing with an eviction. If a tenant doesn’t pay rent, the simple answer is to evict him.

To a seasoned investor, however, it’s never that simple. Actually evicting a tenant is an extremely complicated and expensive process, and one that should always be avoided.

An eviction is an official legal proceeding, complete with a formal process that needs to be followed exactly in order to have your tenant move out and relinquish the property back to you. Failure to follow your state’s laws on a legal eviction can result in delaying the eviction date, losing a court hearing or owing the tenant money.

Rental property owners will benefit from understanding the legal eviction process in order to protect themselves from breaking the law should they ever go through the process. I also hope to instill the idea that addressing an issue with a bad tenant takes a lot more energy than simply evicting him. I want all investors to understand the importance of finding good tenants and sticking to the lease terms, so you can minimize the risk of dealing with an eviction.

Let’s first take a look at the difference between an illegal and a legal eviction.

An illegal eviction involves:

• Changing the locks.

• Putting your renter’s belongings on the curb or in the garbage.

• Threatening the tenant with an eviction or increased fines.

• Turning off utilities or other services.

A legal eviction includes:

• A court order.

• Official notices.

• Appropriate communication.

• Adherence to state laws.

• Patience.

What Is An Eviction?

An eviction is a lawsuit, sometimes known as an unlawful detainer lawsuit, that a property owner files against a tenant in order to regain possession of a property. Once an eviction lawsuit is filed with the court and a judge rules in favor of the eviction, the property owner can work with law enforcement to remove the tenant by an agreed-upon date per the eviction ruling.

In order for a property owner to win an eviction ruling, the property owner must prove that the tenant violated a lease term, that he gave proper notices to the tenant to fix the violation and that the proper eviction process was followed.

Reasons To Evict A Tenant

A tenant can lawfully be evicted for:

• Failure to pay rent.

• A lease violation (like illegal use, subleasing, unauthorized pet, etc.).

• Damaging the property.

• Threatening the safety of other tenants, neighbors, the property or community.

• Breaking other local housing laws, as outlined in the lease agreement.

A property owner cannot evict a tenant because of personality clashes, minor disagreements or annoying behaviors. If you establish a reasonable need to evict a tenant, you should act immediately and follow your state’s guidelines for a legal eviction.

The Eviction Process

Here is a general overview of the standard eviction process:

1. Establish a legal need to evict a tenant:

Tenant violates a lease term, like failing to pay rent.

2. Notify the tenant:

Landlord provides an official notice to Cure or Quit to the tenant. A Cure Or Quit Notice notifies the tenant of the violation and tells the tenant to either fix the violation within a certain amount of time (cure) or move (quit). This notice should be taped to the door and mailed via certified, first-class mail. You will need to prove in court that you did your best to notify the tenant of the potential eviction proceedings.

In some cases, a property owner or manager can file an eviction with the courts without giving the tenant time to remedy the problem. Such is the case if the property or other people are in immediate danger.

3. File with the court:

If the tenant does not fix the violation outlined in the notice and does not voluntarily move out, the landlord can proceed with filing an eviction lawsuit.

After filing an unlawful detainer lawsuit with the local courthouse, you will receive a date for your eviction hearing and the court will notify the tenant of the summons. Depending on which state you live in and how busy your local courthouse is, this hearing can be anywhere from one week to a few months from your filing date. If it takes a few months for your eviction date, you have to let your tenant continue to live at the property until a judge rules otherwise. Often, a tenant will not pay rent during this time. If this is the case, let’s hope you have a good lost rent policy with your landlord insurance provider.

4. Court hearing:

At the court hearing, you will need to provide proof of the reason for eviction, and that you gave the tenant an official notice to cure or quit. It is also a good idea to bring copies of the lease, rent payment records and records of all communication you have had with the tenant.

If the judge rules in your favor, you will be able to move forward with an eviction by contacting your local law enforcement to escort the tenant out on an agreed-upon date, if needed.

5. Regaining possession of the property:

On the date determined by your eviction hearing, you will officially regain possession of the property. You are allowed to change the locks and proceed with managing any abandoned tenant property per your state’s laws at this time.

As you can see, moving forward with a legal eviction involves a lot of time spent dealing with your local courts. You have to be patient with the court’s timelines and rulings. You also must keep all your communication with your tenant professional during this time, which can be challenging if you are frustrated with your tenant’s behavior.

Evictions are risky because of the unknown timeline from the filing date to the date a tenant will actually be required to leave the property per the court order. The time and money associated with moving forward with an eviction demonstrate the need for approving only the most qualified tenants for your property, minimizing the risk of eviction.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

Is It Time To Hire A Property Manager For Your Rental

It’s a question that arises sooner or later for most landlords: “Should I manage my own rentals, or outsource the work?”

Keeping on top of rental maintenance is vitally important for any landlord. But for most, it’s not exactly something they enjoy. After all, being on call 24/7 for any repairs and maintenance issues that arise can get tiring after a while, even for the most resilient landlord. Then there’s the issue of time. While in the beginning, doing cleaning, painting and small plumbing jobs might be fine, once you’ve got a few rentals under your belt you’ll quickly find that management can escalate into a full-time job. No wonder 62% of landlords in one recent survey claimed that maintenance was their biggest pain point.

If you find yourself struggling to fit it all in, hiring a property manager is something that may have crossed your mind. But is outsourcing your property management always the best solution? When does it make sense to go it alone, and when should you think about bringing someone else on board?

If you’re on the fence, here are a few questions that can help you determine whether a property manager is the best option for you.

Do I have time to manage my property?

If you’ve reached a stage where you dread answering the phone because you don’t want to deal with yet another tenant maintenance request, it may be time to outsource.

In my line of work, I see it all the time: landlords running themselves ragged, trying to do it all. They have a few properties, but instead of creating passive income streams for themselves, they’ve simply acquired another job — a full-time one at that.

Don’t let your dream of owning rental properties become stifled because you can’t afford to put any more hours in at your properties. Instead, consider outsourcing to a reputable rental management professional who will be able to oversee the properties in your stead.

Do I want to expand my rental property portfolio?

If your goal is to own five, 10 or more rental properties, outsourcing is the fastest way to get there. This is especially true if you’re finding that maintenance and repairs are starting to keep you from high-level tasks like finding and assessing new investment opportunities and properly overseeing your property portfolio.

Will I invest in markets outside of my local area?

While many landlords start out with properties in their own hometown, if you’d like to grow your portfolio, you may wish to take advantage of up-and-coming markets or opportunities that are better than what’s available in your own backyard. However, being a long-distance landlord can bring its own set of unique challenges, even for experienced landlords.

If you’re thinking of investing in an out-of-town property, hiring a professional property manager who will be your eyes and ears on the ground can free you up from the stress that’s often associated with long-distance landlording.

Will a property manager help me be more profitable?

Finally, is hiring a property manager a financially smart decision? If you have one or two local properties, it might make more sense to oversee them yourself. But often, professional landlords find that hiring a property manager to oversee their rentals enables them to invest in more properties than they’d be able to otherwise, helping to maximize returns.

Finding A Reputable Property Manager

Much of your rental property’s success is contingent on how well it’s managed. For landlords who are thinking of outsourcing management or maintenance, finding a reputable and qualified professional is crucial.

Be sure to do your research upfront. Read online reviews. Ask for referrals. And, much like conducting an interview, ask your prospective property managers qualifying questions to ensure you end up with a great match. Here are a few questions you should ask:

1. How much experience do you have?

First, you’ll want to ensure that you find a professional who’s experienced and knowledgeable — one with a proven track record of success. Consider asking how many rental units they are currently responsible for. A low number could indicate that they’re new to the game, or perhaps struggling.

2. How do you structure your fees?

Concerns about cost is one of the main factors that keeps people from outsourcing. And naturally, this should be one of the first questions that you ask. Generally, monthly fees are either fixed or a percentage of the rental yield, often 8-12% of the monthly revenue. Optional packages and additional services could impact the cost, though, so make sure you’re aware of their fees before you commit.

3. Are there any fees when the property is vacant?

If you find a company that charges you while the property sits vacant, be careful. Property managers should have an incentive to keep your rental occupied, and if they’re being paid regardless, then that incentive goes away.

4. How do you screen tenants?

Any property manager worth their salt will not only screen tenants thoroughly, but also have airtight policies and procedures in place to ensure that they do so in a way that’s in compliance with the Fair Housing Act.

5. What’s your average vacancy rate?

Reducing vacancy times is key to maximizing your returns. A reputable property manager should know their average vacancy rates, and will be more than happy to inform you of them. Anything within the two- to three-week window is outstanding.

At the end of the day, the decision to outsource comes down to your personal preferences and investment goals. While first-time landlords can certainly benefit from the cost savings of doing their own work, for experienced landlords, offloading the day-to-day tasks to a professional is something that often makes sense. Many landlords find that it’s a pivotal turning point in their investment career — the decision that’s responsible for allowing them to reclaim their time and focus on growing their investments.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

Phoenix Real Estate Market Report ~ October 2018

The number of new listing in the month October 2018 is 9,873 listings (up 650 from last month) which is slightly lower than last year at 9,974 listing in October 2017. The overall number of active listings is 19,230 which is 1,204 less listings than in October 2017. The whole year of 2018 there have been less listing on the market than in 2017. As for the number of sold transactions, we had fewer transactions in October 2018 of 7,358 transactions (down 66 from last year) but for most of the year of 2018 we’ve had more transaction than in 2017. This lower supply of listing and higher amount of transaction is causing real estate prices to continue to appreciate.

The Phoenix Housing Market ended 2017 with an overall annual appreciation rate of approximately +9.0%. As of January 2018 the Phoenix market has only appreciated 3.6% where this lack luster appreciated rate was hindered by a sharp drop in price from $333,392 in June 2018 to $320,710 in July 2018. Since July 2018 there has been a second uptick in the average sold price from $320,710 in July to $326,390 in October which is an increase of only +1.8%. We experienced a similar uptick in price in 2017 but this uptick did not begin until October 2017 to finish off the year at a +9.0% appreciation rate. Since November 2017 (12 months ago), the average days on market has decreased approximately -11.4% (down from last month) and the number of sold transaction has increased approximately +1.9% (up from last month).

Since January 2018 we have seen four sharp trends: The average days on market have decreased -20.0%, the number of sold transactions has increased +18.4%, months of inventory have decreased -33.1% and number of new listing has decreased -6.7%. These are all strong trends but the sold average price has not appreciated as much as last year which could be caused by the rise in interest rates. Historically, 19,230 homes for sale represent the lowest number of homes this market has seen for over a decade. This low number of homes for sale indicates we are in a seller’s market (low supply and increased demand). Property owners are not putting their homes on the market because they are holding off to accumulate additional equity from the market. Hopefully, this roller coaster will come to a slow end instead of everyone wanting to put their homes on the market at the same time like in 2008.

Real estate prices will continue to increase and interest rates are planned to increase in 2018 so if you are thinking about buying a home this year will be the time to buy before you get priced out of the market. Give us a call to discuss your best buying or selling strategy, TODAY!!

Credit Inquiries: Why Lenders Care

FICO scores are calculated using an algorithm originally developed by The FICO Company. This algorithm considers five different characteristics of a credit file. Of course, payment history carries the most weight, contributing 35% to the total, three-digit score. The second most important relates to current account balances and credit limits. Scores need consumers to use credit before scores can be properly calculated so having a balance is important. 30% is attributed to this category and the ideal balance appears to be around one-third of credit lines. Keeping balances around this one-third target causes scores to improve.

How long someone has used credit is also a factor, making up 15% of the score and the final two of the five both contribute 10%. Types of credit used and credit inquiries. Types of credit boosts scores when consumers responsibly use different types of credit and credit inquiries logs in the number of times someone has requested credit. But about that 10% for a credit inquiry, if it makes up such a small part of the total score, why do lenders care about this category?

For one, requests for credit over the past year or so won’t hurt scores but making several requests for different credit accounts in a relatively short period of time can indicate the consumer is going through some sort of financial difficulty, perhaps being laid off or otherwise a loss of regular income. Such requests for credit can cause scores to drop, but still, it’s just 10% of the total score.

Each time a consumer makes a request for credit, that request is recorded in the credit file. Again, an occasional request is fine. What can cause a loan application to stop dead in its tracks is to see a recent credit inquiry on a credit report but no indication any account has been opened. It usually takes about 30 days. That can mean someone opened up a credit account or maybe bought a car and financed it but the amount borrowed and the terms haven’t yet made it to the credit bureaus. When a lender looks at a credit report with recent inquiries, there is no way the lender can properly determine a consumer’s new monthly payments. Someone with relatively high debt ratios could take out a new car loan which could push ratios so high they can no longer qualify.

When this happens, the lender will request the borrower to explain the inquiry and verify that no account was opened and if an account was opened, to send in documentation regarding the terms of the new account. That’s why loan officers tell you that once you apply for a mortgage, just sit tight with any other credit requests until and after your loan is ultimately funded and closed.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

Why Price Shouldn’t Be the Only Driver in the Search for Your First Home

Buying your first house? You’re likely driven mainly by budget, but there are some other important considerations you may not have thought of that can help you find the perfect place. Not only can these tips help you find a home that really suits your lifestyle, but also helps you afford to live there comfortably.

Can you afford to heat and cool it?
You may only be thinking of home size in terms of the number of rooms or square footage you want. But, in many cases, a larger home costs more to maintain. More space means more space to heat and cool. Although, a home that’s newer or that has updated systems can help defray costs because it’s more efficient. Your real estate agent may be able to get an idea of the monthly utility costs so you can have this information up front.

Who’s going to mow the lawn?
If you’ve never had your own lawn or garden, you may not know if you have a green thumb or if you’ll regard the time it takes to care for it as a pleasure or a bummer. Then again, if you’re already dreading the idea of having to spend a couple hours out there each week, perhaps a single-family home isn’t for you. Yeah, you could pay someone else to do it, but you’re already stretching to buy your own place, right? Perhaps the lower-maintenance lifestyle offered by a condo or townhome is the best option for you.

What’s good for resale?
Are you thinking about how easy it will be to sell your home when you’re just about to buy it? Maybe not, but, the truth it it’s always a good idea to think like a seller when buying. Chances are, this starter home won’t be your forever home, and the same questions you have about the floorplan or location are likely the questions would-be buyers will be asking when you go to sell.

As it relates to the floorplan, it’s a good idea to think beyond what you think you might want and consider what’s popular in the area. If homes with downstairs master suites sell especially well and you haven’t considered that plan, this info may make you rethink your strategy.

How close are the schools?
Dying to walk your kids to and from school every day? That’s the dream for many a parent. But what you might not be envisioning is being able to watch—and hear—every kid in the school walk by twice a day, every day. What seems like a super-convenient location right on the walking path to the elementary school may just turn out to be too much of a good thing if it impacts your privacy and peace of mind.

Did anything weird happen there?
Yes, the seller will be required to disclose physical defects and also defects that create the potential for stigmatization. “What you’re talking about is the issue of ‘psychological damage’ to a property, to be distinguished from ‘physical damage,’” said NOLO. “In some cases, the psychological damage is so great—such as after a violent or highly publicized murder or suicide, or widespread reports of haunting—that the house is considered ‘stigmatized’ and therefore less valuable. In most states, the owner would indeed be expected to disclose a defect causing the house to be stigmatized, so that buyers could adjust their expectations and purchase price accordingly.”

A natural death in the home, however, is not generally something that needs to be disclosed. If that’s the type of thing that could keep you from wanting to live there you, just ask. “If a prospective home buyer asks you outright about whether anyone has died in the home, you cannot lie (unless you want to risk being later sued for fraud),” they said. “Also, be prepared for any buyer who is interested in this issue (or shall we say obsessed by it?) to find out the information online, at a site like DiedinHouse.com.”

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

How Much Does It Cost To Flip A House?

It’s impossible to put an exact figure on the cost of flipping a house. House flipping comes with so many variables so it’s hard to tell how much it would cost. It can cost you anything from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars depending on your market, rehab costs and plenty more factors.

If you are interested in flipping houses, CLICK HERE to gain access to our deeply discounted list of investment properties.

The ARV

First, you need to know how much the property will be worth when you are done rehabbing. Once you know the value, all other costs that come with the rehab will start to make sense. This is what is known as the ARV or the After Repair Value.

The best way to get an estimate of the ARV is to compare prices of similar properties in the same area of your target market in the past three months. Get a local realtor to help you determine the ARV faster or alternatively, you can do the research yourself by visiting websites such as Realtor.com.

Keep in mind the following things when determining ARV:

Only look at sold houses and not those still on sale
Only look for recently sold houses. They should have been sold within the last three to six months.
If there are no recent sales then this could be a sign that perhaps properties in the area are not on demand.

You can square footage to determine ARV. All you have to do is divide the sales price of property in the area by the square footage of the house. From there, use the square footage in your house and multiply it by the price of per square foot. Although this is effective, it’s not as great as doing a price comparison of the homes in the area.

You can adjust the price accordingly depending on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in the property.

Factor in water views and look at other properties that have similar size lots

Factor in updated features such as new baths or new roofs, heating systems, kitchens, etc then adjust your price accordingly.

A List Of Things That Determine How Much A House Flip Costs

Rehab Costs

The amount of money you will spend on rehab will depend on how much work needs to be done. If you do not have extensive experience in rehabbing, I would advise you to first start with projects that do not require extensive repairs. Here’s a formula that you can easily follow:

Set A Budget

First, you have to get a budget repair form. It’s not a complicated document and is basically an Excel document that itemizes all the repairs that need to be done within the property. From there, request your contractor to fill out the form before you begin the rehab process.

If you plan on using a general contractor, ask them to get an estimate from other subcontractors like painters, finish carpenters, roofers, framers, plumbers and electricians.

Set A Time Line

Once you have a budget, you must do everything with your contractor to ensure that your subcontractors are held accountable for the cost estimates they gave you. If issues that you had not anticipated come up, (and they do so a lot) get a second estimate as soon as possible to ensure that you do not go over and beyond your budget.

The idea here is to ensure that you avoid running into unexpected issues by having a solid budget that can accommodate them whenever they arise.

Use A Scope Of Work

To ensure that your project goes as smoothly as possible, organize a meeting with all your subcontractors and the contractor and discuss the entire project. Your discussion should mention which is the best logical order for doing the work.

Everyone should agree to a certain timeline that they expect to get the work done on time. all your subcontractors should have each other’s cell phone numbers so that they can communicate with each other. Ensure that everyone in your team is updated of any delays or changes in the project. All changes should be pre-approved by your contractor before they are implemented.

House Flipping Financing Costs

To avoid incurring extra costs, try as much as possible to ensure that your rehab goes as smoothly as possible. This will reduce the amount of time that you hold the property. To get an estimate of how much your financing costs will be, just look at the average number of days other properties in the area have been in the market.

The best way to sell a house quickly is to set the price slightly below market price. Your financing costs will also depend on your lender.

Banks

If you have excellent credit and you finance your flip through a bank, your financing cost will be much less than if you sourced for funds from a hard or private lender. You might just pay with 4-6% on the money you borrowed if you get financing through a bank.

Private Money

Most hard money lenders ask for a 14-20% and four to six points on top of the money you borrow from them. Hard money lenders are great sources of financing for beginners but there are many risks to be aware of.

For instance, if it takes you six months from close to close on a $100k loan at 18% and five points, your interest would be $9k to $5k for five points. That is over $14, 000 in financing costs. It will also cost you an extra $1500 for every month you hold the property above 6 months.

This may seem like a lot of money but if you factor in these costs into your house flipping formula, you will still make a profit.

Carrying Costs

You may need to figure out other costs such as:

Association fees and condo fees
Insurance
Water, gas, electricity
Property tax
The longer you hold on to this property, the higher your costs will be.

Realtor Fees

You will have to pay realtor fees once the property provides the market. This is about 5-6% of the income from the purchase of the house. So if you flip your house for $250,000 at a 5% commission, you will pay the realtor $12,500. Although this seems like a large amount of money to pay a realtor, you should not cheap out. Find a good realtor who will help you sell your flips much faster.

How To Determine Your House Flipping Financing Costs Summary

All the costs in this post will account for 95% of your financing costs but bear in mind that they may vary from one project to another. But provided you can factor in all the costs into your formulas and stick to the 70% rule, you shouldn’t have a problem making a profit.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

How to Attract Renters Using Smart Tech

If you own or manage a rental property, you probably know how hard finding the perfect tenants can be. Attracting the right people to your space is key, and smart tech can help you grab their interest and show yourself to be a prepared and mindful landlord.

Make your space feel modern and updated
Fully updating older rentals is expensive and time-consuming, and it may not be a possibility for you based on your personal budget and time constraints. However, many prospective renters want to see a space that is updated and fresh, even if the building itself is a little older. One way to bring a modern edge to your space is adding in a dose of smart tech with a few well-integrated items.

Smart lightbulbs allow users to adjust lighting conditions to their own preferences. Some come with customizable colors, while others can be dimmed and have their light warmth fine-tuned using a mobile app. There are even smart bulbs which can be voice-controlled. Showing these features to prospective renters can be an impressive touch.

You can also show off things like smart thermostats, which allow for remote control and scheduling, and smart switches, which can help add even more control to existing devices and lights. Plugging items like lamps into smart outlets adds some smarts to even the most mundane appliances, and will create a cutting-edge feel in even a dated home. Best of all, these can save both you and your renters money over time.

Help prospective renters see the possibilities
Especially in short-term rental situations, it can be hard for prospective tenants to picture their lives in a rental space. As a property owner, you can use smart tech to help them get a clearer view of how personalized their stay in your space can be.

Smart speakers with virtual assistants bring some intelligence and control into a space in one compact package. Renters can voice-control other smart tech using the smart speaker as a hub, and they can ask for music, weather, search results, shopping, games, and a whole lot more. These virtual assistants, such as Alexa and Google Assistant, can help renters feel more at-home and control more of the space.

Create a secure environment
When moving to a new place, many renters may feel some anxiety about unfamiliar living situations and neighborhoods. Using tech like smart smoke alarms, leak sensors, and home security systems, you can create an environment that keeps you and the renters in the loop about any potential threats and get ahead of potential dangers with remote warnings. It’s important for potential renters to feel secure, and you can provide that by showing you’ve put time and effort into creating a safe place for your tenants.

The key to using smart tech to attract renters is to make sure you’re in-tune with potential tenants’ needs. Making a space feel up-to-dated, personal, and safe will attract high-quality renters to your property, and can be the beginning of a strong rental relationship.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

Decorating Tricks for Hiding Kids’ Messes While Selling Your Home

Keeping the house together during the selling process is a challenge. Making sure everything is just right for showings and open houses can be exhausting and overwhelming Throw kids into the mix, and things can get downright chaotic. Fortunately, a few small decor choices can help conceal kid clutter—changing your “for sale” sign to “sold.”

Hide in Plain Sight
With overflowing toy boxes and tea-party set-ups overtaking the living room, it may be unrealistic to banish all kid stuff to other rooms. Instead, make use of your furniture’s built-in compartments and drawers. Have a storage ottoman next to the sofa? Fill it with everything from action figures and dolls to coloring books, art supplies, stuffed animals and more. Divide the credenza in the family room so that your little ones can store toys behind its closed doors. Accent the open shelves with ceramic vases, family photos, decorative carafes and other appealing decor items.

If your built-in storage is already in use, opt for two or three woven baskets with lids instead. Place them wherever you want, whether it’s next to the loveseat or on the bottom shelf of a console table. Buyers will be too busy appreciating your home’s cleanliness and open floor space to think about what’s inside.

Hide Within Reach
Families in smaller living spaces might consider another strategy—underbed and attic storage. While the underside of your child’s bed may be already home to all sorts of tchotchkes, encourage kids to neaten it up with rolling plastic or rattan storage bins. Discreetly stow away everything from dress-up clothes to seasonal clothing in multiple containers. Slide them out of sight, then help your little one make the bed with an oversized quilt that conceals what’s hidden below. The best part? These containers can still be used after moving into the new bedroom or playroom.

For toys that are too big to fit in this space, such as kids’ teepees and play tents, consider collapsing them and stowing behind a dresser. If the dresser has legs that makes it easy to spot what’s behind it, opt for a chest instead.

Rotate Toys in Longer-Term Storage
Consider storing bins of toys longer-term and swapping them out every few weeks. In addition to the attic and basement, the back corner of a deep closet is a great place to stack storage tubs filled with everything from building blocks and board games to miniature cars and pull toys. Strategically hide them behind long coats so a quick peek inside the closet doesn’t give anything away. Better yet, switch out the storage tubs for suitcases. Rotate the toys in storage every few weeks–kids will have renewed interest when they come out of hiding.

Minimize and Add Some Style
Rather than attempting to conceal every toy, consider downsizing. Prior to the first showing, help your little one sort through toys, determining what still gets played with and what doesn’t. Sort into “keep,” “donate,” and “throw away.” This streamlines the cleanup process and makes it easier to stow away what remains. Bonus? You’ll have less to move when the time comes. For every item your children give up, consider rewarding them with small change or a trip to a favorite restaurant or ice cream shop.

For kids’ areas like bedrooms and playrooms, embrace the playful nature and just add a little style. Choose bookcases and desks with useful cubbies and shelves, and dress up the space with vibrant and unique artwork. Inspire imagination in potential buyers (and keep the space useful while your home is on the market) by choosing a few colorful supplies and knick-knacks to display.

Strategically rearrange home decor to hide kids’ messes while your house is being shown, and potential buyers will see a clean space that they’ll want to make their own.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

New Chinese Tariffs to Raise Renovation Costs

Renovation demand has been growing as homeowners tap their home equity to make updates and improvements. “This year, the National Association of Home Builders’ Remodeling Market Index (RMI) revealed that in the fourth quarter of 2017, the RMI reached 60 for the second time since 2001,” said HousingWire. “Although the demand for home renovation has continued to increase in 2018, recently imposed tariffs are expected to reduce affordability for homeowners seeking renovations.”

So, could the higher costs associated with renos be enough to slow their roll? To be clear, the first round of new Chinese tariffs took effect on September 24, hitting “about $10 billion worth of Chinese products exclusive to homebuilding and remodeling, according to the National Association of Home Builders,” said CNBC. The tariff is expected to rise “to 25 percent by the end of the year. That would be equivalent to a $2.5 billion tax increase on the industry.”

That’s putting pressure on an industry that has been thriving even under a labor shortage, and that could bend to uncomfortable levels under higher materials costs. In addition, “Clients and contractors are having to set contracts with escalation clauses for projects that are being scheduled for six months from now, largely because we’re not sure how far prices are going to go north,” Washington, D.C.-based contractor Justin Sullivan told CNBC.

So, if you were getting ready to add a bathroom, redo your kitchen, or create a killer outdoor area, should you proceed? That all depends.

“Trump’s trade tariffs will drive up the cost of some home renovations, so you might need to speed up your plans to finish a remodel before the supply chain impact hits you directly,” said GOBankingRates. “On the other hand, some costs are already up, so it might be worth postponing your renovation until prices stabilize.”

Specifically, they recommend moving forward with new kitchens and bathrooms. “If you’ve got a new kitchen or bathroom in mind, don’t wait. The new tariffs aimed at Chinese imports will raise the prices for tile used in bathrooms and kitchen backsplashes, cabinets, wallboards and floorboards, light fixtures, and heating and cooling equipment.”

Popular countertop materials like quartz are especially tenuous, facing a “double whammy,” with the U.S. “imposing import duties on quartz, which an investigation found was being illegally ‘dumped’ into the U.S. by Chinese exporters, capitalizing on subsidies from the Chinese government. Quartz prices are already rising and will likely continue to do so,” they said.

Nonetheless, updated kitchens and bathrooms are among the most-wanted features in a new home, so if you’re renovating to sell now or even a few years into the future, by all means, don’t change those plans. GOBankingRates also recommends moving quickly if you want to “convert a basement or mudroom into a laundry room.”

As for what projects to skip until costs head back down? Adding a room or garage can wait. “Some of the first tariffs President Trump imposed were on Canadian lumber, charging that Canadian companies were being unfairly subsidized by their government,” they said. “Canadian lumber prices have also risen in response to a supply decline due to tree disease and slower transportation. Wait for lumber prices to stabilize before you build a new home, add a room, add a garage, convert a basement into an in-law unit.”

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

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