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5 Best Insurance Coverages for Your Rental Property

You’re probably familiar with getting homeowners’ insurance for your primary residence, but how are you covering your rental properties? Just because you got a great deal and paid cash doesn’t mean you should ignore the potential losses that could occur should something happen. These are the five coverages you need to make sure you have now.

Liability Coverage. The house itself isn’t the only thing you should be covering. You need to cover your liability for any accidents that occur on the premises. If someone trips and falls on that crack in the sidewalk that popped up this winter, you aren’t going to want to pay for a broken arm out of pocket. That’s only the beginning of things you could have happen on the property that you could be held accountable for.

Dwelling Coverage. This one is obvious. If you buy a house, you want to make sure you can pay to rebuild or repair it to the same like kind and quality. The perils that are covered in the policy typically depends on how much you’re willing to pay. You can choose to cover only major catastrophes, like fires and tornados, for a smaller price or you can opt for a more comprehensive coverage that covers many more issues.

Loss of Rental Income. Owning a rental property is a business, and hopefully, you’re making some money from that business. Coverage for the loss of rental income may help you if the home is damaged by a covered peril. If the home had enough damage from a tornado or fire that the tenant had to move out and rent stopped coming in, you could be reimbursed for your loss of rental income. If you depend on your rental income to maintain your lifestyle, it’s a handy coverage to have. Depending on the extent of damage, it could take months to make the property habitable again after a loss.

Landlord Personal Property Coverage. Did you agree to rent out your property furnished with some things from your grandma’s old house? Did you leave the refrigerator and washer/dryer combo since you’re renting to a friend? Even if the tenant has renter’s insurance, it’s not going to cover any personal property you may have left for their use inside of the home. You’ll want to make sure you have sufficient landlord personal property coverage for any items in the rental owned by you.

Vacancy Coverage. If you’re rental is going to be vacant for any period of time, it’s likely you’re going to need vacancy coverage. A vacant home presents many more unique risks than a home occupied by a tenant. Things to make sure you have coverage for when the property is vacant includes: vandalism, water damage, and burglary, in addition to the major perils like fire. If you already have a policy for your rental property, talk to your agent about limitations in your current policy and supplementing it with vacancy coverage until the home is occupied again.

Having a comprehensive landlord’s policy is key to protecting your investment. It can’t be replaced by a regular homeowner’s policy or the tenant’s insurance. (However, it’s still wise to require that your tenants provide proof of insurance for their personal contents and liability). Reading policy language can be difficult, but knowing the right coverages to look for and finding a great agent to service that policy can make all the difference.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

4 Real Estate Investor Tips For Buying Your First Property

By a virtual show of hands, how many of you are hunting and searching for your for investing deal this weekend? For those of you that raised your virtual hand as a “yes” to deal-hunting, do you feel anxiety about buying an investment property? Do you feel like you might not be able to keep up the payments, or afford the rehab necessary to get the property ready for resale, or afraid of any problems that might come up with inspection?

“Most people only buy a couple homes in their lifetime. This lack of experience leads many investor buyers to feel woefully unprepared. You’re not getting married. You don’t have to make a lifelong commitment to a property, and that you can always sell later. If you fall out of love with your long term investment, as long as you buy right.

There are a set of rules that to rely upon when buying an investment property, and that these same rules can be used by anyone buying a house. Here are some great tips:

Tip #1. Get the Facts:

The number one rule is “do not overpay for a property”, and says that he never buys on future value (and refers to that as an illusion that got many of us in trouble). Being realistic if estimating the cost of repairs the property will need. Conversely, we cautions you not to let a home inspection “scare you away from a good deal”, and here’s an example of someone who had the opportunity to purchase a $650,000 home at a short sale for just $520,000, but walked away after the inspector “found a laundry list of items that needed repairs”. Albeit a “scary” looking list, as he called it, it was about $20,000 of work, leaving the remainder as over $100,000 in equity. Remember: “Get the Facts!”

Tip #2. Don’t Fall Completely in Love:

“When remodeling a home for a resale flip and being faced with a decision to either improve the home’s insulation or make the home more beautiful, I’m almost always forced to beautify.” People who lack experience will rely on their emotions. Real Estate agents are well aware of this, and this is why they try to “decorate and stage a home so that people fall in love and forget the facts”. If you fall prey to your emotions, you can get into “bidding wars and overlook discrepancies that need more attention”. The final point to be made on this tip is that “It’s much easier to replace kitchen cabinets some time down the road than it is to reinsulate a home. But people aren’t concerned or willing to pay for what’s behind the walls. They should be.

Tip #3. Get Professional Help

Real Estate Agents, Home Inspectors, Appraisers, Lawyers, Surveyors and Contractors are all valuable resources but they’re no good if you disregard their advice., and the key here is “to trust but verify. In terms of a Real Estate Agent, speak with many different agents and ask for references, until you find one that you are comfortable with. Once you are working with an agent, ask your agent to go over comparable sales with you, and “not just spit out a value”, since this will “help you feel confident about your offer and reduce the risk of complications from a low appraisal.”

Tip #4. Don’t Be Afraid to Pull the Trigger or Walk Away:

OK, so you have all of the facts about an investing deal or property that you are incredibly fond of, and if the price is fair and affordable then don’t be afraid to seal the deal. On the flip side, if the price is above the market value or the price does not take into account the amount of work it needs, you remind yourself that there are plenty of other houses to choose from.

Certainly some great tips here, but sometimes, when in the heat of battle and bidding for a home; it’s easy to lose perspective. What your mindset should be during the process; Remember a house is just sticks and stones and there are plenty of them out there.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

5 Very Important Checklist Items Before Selling Your Home

Before selling your home, you’ll want to make sure it is ready to be seen by potential buyers. Follow the next five steps to ensure that your house sells for the maximum value.

First Step: Paint
First, make sure that the paint is up to date. You may need to skim coat your walls. Skim coat, also called mud, is a thin layer of seam compound that can be used to repair or smooth damaged walls. You may need a skim jacket if you want to repair cracks, fill in joints, or flatten the area with an existing flat surface. Use a spatula or drywall knife to lay a layer of skim coat on rough walls or ceilings to form a flat surface for painting or wallpaper. Usually, two to four layers need to be applied before the surface is smooth. Examine the walls and ceiling for damage. If there is a lot of damage (notches, cracks, large holes), you have to fix them first. You may only need to complete the connection between the new plasters, maybe you have to complete the broken plaster or plaster-gypsum board joints, or you have many years of settlement or vibration Plan to repair plaster that will begin to break down.

Skim coating is a texturing technique used to smooth walls. Drywallers use this technique to hide imperfect taping work and give the wall only a plaster-like appearance and the smoothest surface. Non-oiling coatings are the only way to achieve class 5 drywall completion and many industry groups, including painting contractors, recommend them.

Second Step: Repairs
Some of these tips are quite simple, while others may need more elbow grease. But once the buyers have begun to show up at your location, you will benefit. When you are ready to sell, check your home for damaged parts, broken equipment, and spaces that need cleaning or exhilaration. Our home maintenance checklist will guide you through common home repairs that may affect your family’s value, especially when you are examining each area. Taking an assessment can also help you decide what needs to be corrected. The total cost of repair depends on the condition of your home. Once you have listed the repairs you need, decide for yourself what you can do and where you need expert help. Compare quotes from multiple contractors so that you can consider the price range. Look at the whole house and consider if you need to make some improvements.

Third Step: Check the Foundation
Concrete is essentially a very porous material. It absorbs moisture naturally. Cracks in the concrete floor are completely expected and not a structural problem, but be sure to check the foundation with a specialist.

Fourth Step: Landscaping
Be sure that your yard looks good. Hire a professional to keep everything neatly trimmed. This includes mowing the lawn and keeping shrubs and trees manageable. Also, be sure to clean off your patio.

Fifth Step: Cleaning
Finish by sweeping, mopping, and dusting the whole house clean. This includes making sure that there are no signs of dirt or stains. Countertops, sinks, showers and toilets are the main places to keep clean. Roll up your sleeves and go to work. Save some money by using homemade cleaning products.

Next, plant the “for sale’ sign in your front yard and discuss with your realtor. Then, you’ll be all set to start showing your property.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

Why the Fall May be the Best Time to Buy a Home!

If you still think that the best time to buy a home is either spring or summer, you might miss out on what makes buying a home in fall such a great idea. While it is true that the buying frenzy is usually during spring and summer, taking advantage of the many holidays during fall can finally land you your dream home.

Best Time to Buy a Home
Are you aware that October is the best month for snagging home buying deals? This is backed by RealtyTrac’s data over a period of 15 years and 32 million home sales during that time period. More so, their data showed that those who purchased homes in October ended up paying 2.6% less than the estimated market value for the homes they purchased. That’s thousands upon thousands of savings!

Think about it, a home worth $500,000’s 2.6% is $13,000. You can use that $13,000 for purchasing really good appliances or have a vacation. Think this ‘discount’ is out there? Just wait until the 8th of October because homes purchased on that date averaged 10.8% less than their market value estimates. That’s beyond a good deal! That’s a steal!

Take Advantage of Less Competition
For those with kids, the start of fall is usually a very busy time as people get back to their daily lives after all the fun of summer. Those who were home hunting in spring and summer have either grown weary or already bought homes. Though it is true that sellers also typically drop out of the market during fall and usually resurface after the New Year, keeping an eye out for new listings can give you a beautiful new home before the holidays.

Make the Holidays Work for You
The holidays are just around the corner come fall and people are either hurrying to sell so they can move to another home or that they’ve taken a time out from buying as they get busy for the holidays. This factor can come in handy when you spot a new listing knowing that the owner would want to vacate their old home as soon as a deal is finalized.

Your Real Estate Broker Will Have More Time for You
Because there are generally less listings and less buyers in fall, your real estate broker will have more time to show you homes that fit what you are looking for plus answer all questions you may have. They’d also be more motivated to make lots of sales as the end of year nears and holidays approach.

Bargain Home Improvement Season
Fall is generally the time of the year when appliances are at their most affordable and new models are being launched. This is also the best time to purchase cookware, patio furniture, TVs, and sometimes, pay for home improvement services.

All of the above that point to why fall is the best time to buy a home are great, but year-end tax credits might be one of the best incentives for you. It is possible that you’ll be able to score quite a significant tax deduction come tax season.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

How Lenders Evaluate the Self-Employed Borrower

One of the primary factors when issuing a loan approval is to make sure the borrowers can afford the new mortgage payment along with other monthly credit obligations. This is accomplished by comparing monthly payments with monthly income.

For someone who receives a pay check on the 1st and 15th it’s relatively easy to figure out how much money someone makes. But for those who are self-employed and make money when their clients pay their bills, it’s not so easy. Lenders do have a method to properly calculate qualifying monthly income for the self-employed, they just take a few extra steps.

These borrowers must show proof they’ve been self-employed for at least two years. For those who receive a regular pay check from their employers, they too must demonstrate they’ve been in the workforce and receiving a regular pay check for at least two years. This is one of the reasons lenders ask for the last two years of W2 forms.

But self-employed folk don’t have W2s, they have 1099s sent to them by their clients. Self-employed borrowers can demonstrate they’ve been at it for at least two years with copies of their federal income tax returns. Borrowers will submit these returns and also sign a form called the IRS 4506-T. The 4506-T is an authorization form that allows the lender to independently receive copies of tax transcripts for the last two years. Upon receipt, the lender compares the returns provided by the borrowers with the information provided directly by the IRS.

Borrowers will also be asked to provide a year-to-date profit and loss statement. To calculate qualifying income, the lender will average the two years of self-employed income plus the year-to-date amount. The result is the qualifying income lenders use when evaluating a loan application for someone who is self-employed.

When reviewing the year-over-year income, the lender also wants to see some stability. If year one the income shown on the tax returns is $60,000 and in year two the income is $70,000, the lenders will average these two amounts along with year-to-date totals. On the other hand, if the income is $70,000 in year one and $60,000 in year two, that can be a red flag. In this example the income dropped by more than 10% in one year.

Is the business doing okay? Does the P&L also show declining income? In this instance, the lender will want an explanation for the declining income. If there is too much of a decline, the lender can make the determination the income is not likely to continue into the future. The continuation guideline is typically for at least three years.

Note, it’s a judgment call by the lender because no one can see that far into the future but if the person has been self-employed for the minimum amount of time and the business has demonstrated not just stability but growth, the lender can reasonably determine the business and the income that goes along with it will continue.

Lenders understand that self-employed income will be received at different times during the month. That’s why an average is used. And, more importantly, it’s not how much the business is bringing in this month or last or even this year. If you’re self-employed, keep this in mind. And if you’re not sure about your qualifying income, it’s time for a phone call to your loan officer.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

3 Ways to Reduce Your Closing Costs

Most loans today require some amount of a down payment. But they all require closing costs. There are lender fees, common ones are loan processing and underwriting fees, and there are non-lender fees. Non-lender fees include items such as an attorney fee or title insurance premiums. It’s the non-lender fees that can really add up as mortgage loans require services and documentation from multiple players in the real estate world.

Saving up for a down payment is probably the biggest challenge, especially for first time home buyers, but closing costs also need to be addressed. Here are three ways buyers can reduce or eliminate these costs.

The first way is to have your lender quote you an interest rate that provides a lender credit toward your closing costs. When your lender quotes rates and fees to you, you’ll get a range of rates from lower to higher. Lower rates will require upfront interest in the form of a discount point. One discount point equals one percent of the amount borrowed. On a $300,000 loan, one point is then $3,000.

For example, if your lender offers 4.25% with no points on a 30 year loan you might also be able to get a 4.00% by paying one point upfront. The lender really doesn’t care if you pay points or not, it’s completely your call. You have the option of paying interest upfront in the form of a point or you can pay the interest over the term of the loan without paying a point.

If you take that 4.25% rate one step further, say to 4.50%, the lender may offer a one point credit. Your monthly payment goes up by a little, but you also saved on closing costs. On that same $300,000 30 year loan, the 4.50% rate gave you a $3,000 credit at the settlement table. There is some math involved to determine which rate is best in your situation and your loan officer will walk you through the process.

Another way to reduce your closing costs is to have the sellers pay them for you. This involves you and your real estate agent making an offer that asks the sellers to pay for all or some of your fees. Your offer might include verbiage that asks the sellers to pay a certain percentage of the sales price, say 1% or 2% of the sales price or you might ask for a specific amount, such as $3,000.

Different loan programs place certain limits on how much the sellers can pay so you’ll need to check with your loan officer before making the offer. Most such limits are rarely reached however. The maximum seller contribution for a VA loan for example is 4.0% of the sales price. Taking a $300,000 sales price would then provide up to $12,000. Closing costs are nowhere near that.

Finally, if the sellers decide to decline your request, you can adjust the sales price upward. If the sales price is $300,000 and closing costs are $3,000, you can offer $303,000 while then asking the sellers to pay $3,000 of your costs. The sellers net the same amount at the closing table and you don’t have to come up with an additional $3,000 for closing costs. One potential issue with this method is making sure the property will appraise at the higher amount, but a one percent increase usually won’t cause any problems. And yes, when making a higher offer that also means your loan amount will also go up the difference in monthly payment is barely noticeable.

Closing costs will need to be addressed just as a down payment needs to be. Your loan officer will provide you with an initial cost estimate that will generally match up with your final settlement, so you’ll know what to expect. You can adjust your rate upward, have the sellers pay for them as part of your offer, or increase your offer slightly to include an amount reflecting your expected settlement fees.

3 Things to Consider Before Investing in a Rental Property

Having a rental property can be a great investment. Not only can it appreciate, but many times the rent you receive from tenants will also cover most (or all) of the mortgage.

Of course, it’s not exactly passive income. You’ll probably be managing renters, hiring yard care and cleaning, and taking care of repairs. Even if you hire a management company, you still need to ensure that these responsibilities are covered.

It’s also important to make sure the investment property you choose sets you up for success. There are a lot of mistakes to avoid. With that in mind, here are three things to consider before investing in a rental property.

Understand the Numbers

Before you invest in any rental property, it’s vital to understand both your financial situation prior to the purchase, as well as, the financial results after the purchase. Let’s look at each one.

Your Starting Financial Status

Before you even think about property investment, make sure you have everything you need—personally and professionally. Are you paying your bills easily? Are you in trouble with debt? Do you have enough cash flow for emergencies, insurance, and retirement for your personal life?

If not, now is not the time to invest in a rental property. You can’t buy a home and expect renters to arrive and bail you out of a difficult situation. You want to invest from a position of strength, not an area of desperation.

Once your personal life is in order, take a look at your savings. Do you have money for a down payment? Can you afford homeowner’s insurance, taxes, fees, and repairs? Remember, the more you borrow, the less your property will return to you.

The Rental Property Itself

Once you’re in the right position to invest in a property, you want to understand the numbers behind each purchase option you evaluate. You need to choose one where the return on investment is strong, to ensure that you will actually have an investment and not a burden on your hands.

Consider the location and size of the property to determine how much rent it will command. Think about whether quality tenants want to live in that area. Don’t overlook the repairs you’ll need to make if it’s not a turnkey property.

Compare your return against your expected expenses to make sure you’re receiving positive cash flow from the property over time. Think about taxes, fees, periodic repairs, and anything you’re paying to a management company. Don’t forget to factor in the mortgage payments as well!

Look for a Desirable Location

High-quality renters are attracted to top-of-the-line spaces. It may seem like a great deal to invest in a run-down property or an undesirable part of town because you can get it for a low price. However, even if the expected (lower) rent is a good return, the truth is that you won’t get quality renters.

You need to find an area that people want to live in long-term. Otherwise, your property will be a revolving door, and you’ll always be looking for new tenants. Each month of vacancy is money out of your pocket and dramatically reduces your return on investment.

Think about the good schools and transit routes in your area and look for desirable properties near those amenities. If you can find something near great restaurants, parks, and entertainment, that’s even better.

Of course, these better properties will cost more. However, knowing that you have a desirable location with long-term tenants will make the financial outcome worthwhile. You will also have the added benefit of appreciation. In more desirable areas, the value of your investment will appreciate much faster than in undesirable areas.

Consider Your Risks

Any investment has a risk of loss. That’s why there’s the possibility of a return! When you’re considering an investment property, you need to think carefully about the risks of renting and be prepared to handle them.

Vacancy is probably the most significant risk. Having months of no tenants means having months of no income, but your expenses will remain the same. It’s important to limit this risk as much as possible by choosing a high-quality property in a desirable area. You should also budget to have some additional cash available in case you face lean times.

You also want to be prepared for major repairs. Sometimes these can be planned, and sometimes they pop up out of nowhere. Having proper insurance and a reserve fund is vital.

Finally, you need to be ready in case you have difficult tenants. Some may pay late, promise to pay but never do so, or even need to be evicted. Handling these issues is time-consuming, so be sure to have a plan in place ahead of time.

Be Prepared Before You Invest

Having a rental property can be highly profitable if you do it well. Once you’ve taken these considerations into account, you’ll be able to tell if you have the right opportunity in front of you.

When you go in with a clear vision, you’ll set yourself up for success.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

Should You Invest in Short-Term or Long-Term Rental Properties?

The benefits of real estate investing are numerous. That’s why millions of Americans decide to go down that road. However, for someone new to the property investment business, choosing the right strategy can be daunting. That’s why we’ve put together the advantages and disadvantages of both short-term rentals and long-term rentals to help beginner investors decide on the best approach for them.

What Are Short-Term and Long-Term Rentals?

If you are new to real estate investing, you might be wondering about the meaning of short-term rentals. This is a relatively recent type of investment properties which get rented on daily or weekly basis. They have become particularly popular after the emergence of Airbnb.com in 2008 and other similar platforms afterwards. They are also known as Airbnb rentals or vacation rentals.

On the other hand, long-term rentals are investment properties which landlords rent out on monthly basis. Most tenants tend to stay in the same property for years before they decide to move to a new city or before they can afford to buy their own home. Long-term rentals are also called traditional rentals as this is the oldest type of rental properties.

Investing in Short-Term Rental Properties: The Advantages

1. Higher Return on Investment

The first and foremost benefit of buying an investment property to rent out on Airbnb or a similar platform rather than the traditional way is that this brings a higher return on investment. Data from Mashvisor, a real estate data analytics company, shows that the capitalization rate for short-term rentals exceeds the cap rate for long-term ones in the majority of big and small US housing markets. This is a very important factor as investors get into real estate to make money from properties, and the more money they can make, the better.

2. Control Over the Pricing Strategy

Vacation rentals are usually marketed on platforms which allow the host – that is, the investor – to set up a unique rental rate for every day. This allows you to customize your pricing schedule to account for the weekend and holidays as well as for the peak season and the off season. In this way you can decrease the daily rate when demand is slower to push your occupancy rate up and increase the rent when the market is hot in order to make more money. Consequently, you can maximize your rental income and return on investment easily and effectively.

3. In Demand

Airbnb rentals are very much in demand right now. Looking for a more welcoming and less pricey alternative to hotels, many business and leisure travelers decide to stay at short-term rentals, pushing the demand for them up. That’s excellent news from the point of view of real estate investors as more demand means that they can raise the nightly rate and still not compromize the occupancy rate. This, in turn, means higher return.

4. For Personal Use

The last major advantage of investing in a short-term rental as opposed to a traditional one is that you can use it for your own purposes. Because vacation rentals’ availability is marked on daily basis, you can decide when you want to stay at your second home with your friends and family and make those days unavailable for guests. In this way, you not only get to spend your holidays in a home-resembling atmosphere in your favorite location but also save money from expensive hotels.

Investing in Vacation Rentals: The Disadvantages

1. Legal Issues

The main drawback of this rental strategy is that short-term rentals are becoming illegal or at least strictly regulated in more and more markets across the US. The local authorities in many major cities such as San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, and others have issued regulations which basically eliminated vacation rentals for investment purposes there. Moreover, even if you invest in a location where Airbnb is legal at the moment, there is no guarantee that the situation will not change for the worse in a few months or years.

2. High Turnover

Unlike traditional rentals, vacation homes experience a very high turnover. Guests change every couple of days, which means that you have to clean, tidy up, and restock all the time. This increases your running costs and requires a lot of time and efforts. Being an Airbnb host can be equivalent to a full-time job. However, professional vacation rental management companies offer an affordable solution to this problem. They would take care of all aspects of your short-term rental business in a cost-efficient way, maintaining your income or even increasing it.

Investing in Long-Term Rentals: The Advantages

1. Stability and Predictability

The most important pro of buying a traditional rental property is that it provides a sense of stability and predictability. You have to put efforts into screening tenants well to find good ones and then you should take good care of your property, of course. But as long as you do that, you can expect your tenants to stay for a few years. This means that you will receive your rental income month after month without worrying about vacancies and turnover. This is an important consideration for real estate investors.

2. Few Legal Restrictions

The laws governing the relations between landlords and tenants vary from state to state. Some locations favor the former, while others favor the latter. Nevertheless, there are no places in the US real estate market where long-term rentals are absolutely illegal or where the regulations are so tight or restricting that they become prohibitive for investors. So long as you maintain your property, respond to your tenants’ reasonable requests and concerns, don’t discriminate against them, and pay your taxes diligently, you should be out of trouble.

3. Smaller Initial Investment

If you decide to rent out your investment property on long-term basis, you can decide whether to to furnish it or not. Furnishing an entire house or apartment from scratch requires thousands of dollars, no matter how good you might be at finding deals. You have to provide a comfortable and pleasant environment to be able to compete with other investors in the neighborhood. Nonetheless, you save yourself both money and time when you leave your property unfurnished. You don’t have this option with vacation rentals.

4. Minimal Ongoing Expenses

Similarly, long-term rentals entail lower recurrent expenses than short-term ones. As an Airbnb host, you have to replace the toiletries and water, change the sheets, and clean the property between all guests. Moreover, you have to periodically change any broken pieces of furniture and deal with more frequent damages to your property. Meanwhile, long-term tenants see your rental as their home, so in most cases they cause less damage than short-term guests.

Investing in Traditional Rental Properties: The Disadvantages

1. Difficult Rent Increase

Most states tend to protect tenants and make rent increases very hard. As a landlord, you will most probably face limitations on the frequency of changes in the rental rate as well as the actual size of the increase. This means that you might miss on an opportunity to make more money if demand in your market starts going up.

2. Bad Tenants and Eviction

Even if you apply the most scrutinizing screening process when choosing your tenants, you might still make a mistake and end up with bad tenants. However, most states put significant restrictions on the tools you have at your disposal to deal with them. When your tenants don’t pay rent, you have to give them a notice before you can take any legal action. If you suspect your renters are causing too much damage to your property, you can’t just walk in to check on the property; once again you have to notify them. Not to mention that a supposedly simple eviction process can take months in which you cannot make money from your investment property.

3. Suboptimal Return on Investment

As mentioned above, short-term rentals tend to yield higher return on investment than traditional ones. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that you can’t make good money with long-term rentals. As long as you select your market carefully and analyze your investment property diligently, you can make doubled-digit return with this rental strategy.

One of the best things about real estate investing is the diversity of options including the two main rental strategies. While both short-term and long-term rental properties have clear, objective pros and cons, you have to take into consideration your personal preferences and your own personality as a real estate investor before you can decide which one to pursue.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

Think Curb Appeal When Remodeling to Sell

With home prices up in some areas, the return on remodeling investments at resale can be good. Making little changes can have big impacts when it comes to remodeling your home to sell.

Some updates will return as much as they cost in hotter markets, but unless your home is in a rapidly inflating city, you may not get enough bang for your buck.

But the lesson isn’t to avoid remodeling your home. It’s to rethink your expectations. Do you want to enjoy your updates for a few years? Or do you want to make your home more immediately appealing to homebuyers?

If you’re remodeling for your own household, updating a home has a legitimate purpose that is unquantifiable. When you add square footage, update systems and fixtures, or rearrange traffic flow, you improve the functionality of your home. Refreshing wall colors, window coverings, and flooring adds to the beauty and enjoyment of your home. Many would consider that money better spent, and if you decide to sell in a few years, you’ll be ahead of the game in terms of updates that will appeal to homebuyers.

But if you’re remodeling strictly for the next buyer, there’s some risk. Will you choose the right elements to appeal to the next buyer? What if they don’t share your taste or appreciate the areas where you allocated your remodeling budget?

Start with what absolutely has to be done, whether you plan to stay in your home or not. You may be tempted to put off replacing the roof for an average of nearly $20,000, because Remodeling Magazine says it will only return approximately 72 percent of costs. But a new roof could make the difference in whether or not an FHA or VA buyer can buy your home and pass government inspection.

Otherwise, stick to smaller updates that can yield big impacts in terms of curb appeal, safety and building integrity. The top five cost-to-value projects that netted the most return are:

  1. Replacing the front door with a 20-guage steel door – 102 percent.
  2. Manufactured stone veneer — 92. 2 percent
  3. Fiber-cement siding — 84.3 percent.
  4. Garage door replacement — 82.5 percent
  5. Wood window replacement — 78 percent.

As you can see, the most lucrative projects for resale were all about curb appeal. Seal the deal with a new welcome mat, new sconces to complement the new steel door, and potted plants for color. Wow your buyers on the outside and they’ll be more likely to choose your home over the competition.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

Self-Employed? What to Know About Buying a Home

Jammie pants and slippers. Dog curled up at your feet. Your favorite TV show playing in the background. Sound like a quality weekend day? Not so fast. For a growing number of Americans, it’s what a regular ‘ole workday looks like.

We’re not necessarily talking about a work-from-home scenario (although this is another growing workforce trend). And it goes beyond having flexibility to work from wherever you want (and wear whatever you want!). It’s self-employment, and it’s on the rise. FreshBooks’ second annual Self-Employment Report found that, “Some 27 million Americans will leave full-time jobs from now through 2020, bringing the total number of self-employed to 42 million,” said the New York Post. “The report defines self-employed professionals as those whose primary income is from independent client-based work.

But self-employment can also make it difficult to buy a home. “Lenders are primarily concerned that all applicants, including self-employed workers, have the ability to consistently repay the mortgage,” said U.S. News & World Report. “They’ll need to see that your income is high enough to pay for the mortgage and likely to continue, and that you have a good track record of repaying your debts.”

These tips can help you get yourself in a better position.

What do you need to show?

Showing two years of steady income is a basic requirement for just about any mortgage, but those who have an employer other than themselves may have more flexibility. Other factors, such as income, savings, down payment, and debt-to-income ratio can make that two-year rule less critical.

Those who are self-employed, however, will want to show as much income history as possible. “Mortgage lenders typically require self-employed individuals to show two years’ worth of self-employment income to prove that they have a steady revenue stream,” said The Motley Fool. In addition, “You’ll have to provide tax returns from the last two years, and you may also have to provide a list of your existing debts and assets. Business owners may have to provide profit and loss statements from the last couple of years.”

How to treat business expenses

Adding to the challenge is the fact that lenders are going to be looking at your income after deductions. “Self-employed workers also might write off a significant portion of their income as a business expense, minimizing the size of the mortgage they’re able to obtain,” said U.S. News. “Because mortgage underwriters typically look at income after expenses, your taxable income may be too small to qualify for the mortgage you want.”

Managing your debt-to-income ratio

“Most mortgage lenders will not give you a loan if that ratio is greater than 43%—that is, if more than 43% of your income is going toward paying off debt each month,” said The Motley Fool. That debt-to-income level is key in any mortgage approval scenario, but takes on added importance when everything is under a self-employment microscope.

“It’s important to make sure you keep your debts down to a manageable level. They should never exceed 43% of your income, and it’s best if you can keep your obligations under 36%,” they said.

How’s your credit score?

Credit scores are even more important if you’re trying to prove you’re worthy of being approved for a mortgage. “Even if you’ve been wildly successful after striking out on your own, having a lousy credit score will hinder your chances of getting a good rate on a mortgage,” said Bankrate. They recommend checking your credit before you start applying, which will give you an opportunity to pay down debts or spot errors on your report that could be dragging your score down.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

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