Real Estate News Articles

Updated: Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Smart Tips to Pay Your Mortgage off Early

When many a real estate dream is focused on the idea of buying a home and staying just long enough to earn enough equity to move up to something bigger and better, this may come as somewhat of a surprise. If you have considered the idea of buying a forever home or if yoursquo;re already there and want to be amongst the almost 40 percent of owners living mortgage free, there are some tips that can help you move toward that zero balance.

Switch to biweekly payments

Say your mortgage payment is 2,000. Pay it once per month, and yoursquo;re paying 24,000 per year. Switch to biweekly payments of 1,000 every two weeks, and you end up paying 26,000 for the year. That adds up.

ldquo;This will have the nearly the same impact on your budget as one monthly payment, but because there are 52 weeks in a year, a biweekly payment schedule will result in 13 full-sized payments a year instead of the normal 12,rdquo; said The Motley Fool. Youll be making an entire extra payment every year without having to scrounge around for the extra money. To look at some real-life numbers, if you have a 30-year 200,000 mortgage at an interest rate of 5, making biweekly instead of monthly payments would save you 34,328 in interest and allow you to pay off the loan almost five years early.rdquo;

Make extra principal payments

Especially in the early years of your mortgage, your payments are likely to be mostly interest. But you can eat away at your principal by making an extra "principal only" payment. ldquo;The benefit of paying additional principal on a mortgage isnrsquo;t just in reducing the monthly interest expense a tiny bit at a time,rdquo; said Bankrate. ldquo;It comes from paying down your outstanding loan balance with additional mortgage principal payments, which slashes the total interest yoursquo;ll owe over the life of the loan.rdquo;

Letrsquo;s use their example of a 120,000 mortgage at a 4.5 percent interest rate, with monthly principal and interest of 608.02. Pay an extra 25 principal payment every month and you can save more than 9,000 in interest over the life of the loan.

Yoursquo;ll want to make sure yoursquo;re allowed to make these extra principal payments per the terms of your loan, however. ldquo;Check with yournbsp;mortgage companynbsp;first,rdquo; said Dave Ramsey. ldquo;Some companies only accept extra payments at specific times or may charge prepayment penalties.rdquo;

Refinance into a shorter-term loan

Can you swing a higher monthly payment? Refinancing out of a 30-year mortgage to a 15-term can save you an enormous amount of money. ldquo;A mortgage amount of 250,000 over 30 years at a rate of 4 would cost 429,674 in principal and interest payments by the end of the term,rdquo; said Investopedia. ldquo;The total interest would be 179,674 for borrowing for 30 years. The same loan amount and interest rate over 15 years would cost 332,860 by the end of the term. Total interest would be 82,860 for borrowing for 15 years. At 4, youd pay only about 46 of the total interest for a 15-year than youd pay for the 30-year.rdquo;

There is a secondary benefit to refinancing to a shorter term; these rates are typically lower. At press time, Wells Fargorsquo;s 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 3.875, while the 15-year fixed rate was 3.125.

Make small sacrifices

ldquo;Other small sacrifices can go a long way to help pay off your mortgage early,rdquo; said Dave Ramsey.nbsp;ldquo;How much could you save if you took your Starbucks money and added it to your mortgage payment each month? According to the Acorns Money Matters Report, the average American spends 3 per day on their coffee. Thatrsquo;s around 90 a month added to your mortgage paymentsmdash;which will save you 25,000 in interest and four years on the life of your loanrdquo;

Be careful about refinancing

The idea of a lower interest rate is what largely drives refinances. But refinancing to a lower rate may not be the best move if it means yoursquo;re paying a bunch of fees and/or taking out cash that eats away at your available equity. If your goal is to get your mortgage paid off as quickly as possible, you may want to just leave your loan alone.


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Surge of International Students to Canada Puts Focus on Housing

ldquo;For some time, Canada has been a destination of choice for international students for reasons such as the favourable mix of quality and affordability of post-secondary education,rdquo; says a report by Sri Thanabalasingam and Yasmine El Baba at TD Economics. They say a growing share of these students is choosing to permanently settle in Canada following graduation, which ldquo;could contribute to easing the pressures of an aging population, help address labour shortages, boost sagging productivity and increase diversity in Canada,rdquo; say the authors.

ldquo;Canada grants a longer work permit to graduates than the U.S. or U.K. offers, thus providing international students enough time to find a job in their field of interest. By gaining Canadian work experience, international students are then eligible to apply for permanent residency.rdquo;

Canadarsquo;s population growth rate was 1.4 per cent in 2108. Among G10 nations, growth averaged 0.5 per cent.

The TD report says that during the last three years, the number of international students coming to Canada has surged from about 250,000 to 350,000. They contributed about 21.5 billion to the Canadian economy in 2018.

All of those international students, as well as domestic students who move to a different city to attend college or university, need a place a live. But Benjamin Tal, an economist with CIBC Economics, says students housing isnrsquo;t being counted by official figures compiled by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. CMHC. Thatrsquo;s because the official census says that ldquo;students who return to live with their parents during the year should be included at their parentsrsquo; address, even if they live elsewhere while attending school or working at a summer job.rdquo;

Tal says, ldquo;excluding these students is problematic. Yes, they are planning to return to their parentsrsquo; house, but during the academic year many of them perhaps the majority live elsewhere, and therefore represent demand for housing, which is then missing from CMHC figures. Accordingly, from a housing demand perspective, the widely quoted increase in the number of adult kids still living with their parents may be exaggerated.rdquo;

Tal says a rough estimate ndash; ldquo;and we will not take it to the bankrdquo; ndash; is that ldquo;we undercount the total stock of housing demand in Canada by 300,000 units. Whatrsquo;s more, given that almost all the undercounting is among young students, and that their number has been rising much faster than the overall population, the >

The TD report says in 2017, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver hosted more than half of Canadarsquo;s international students. The students come from all over the world, with China, India, South Korea, France and Vietnam leading the way.

ldquo;Outside of a handful of small institutions, almost no Canadian university campus offers enough on-campus student housing to house all of its full-time students coming from outside the host city,rdquo; says a white paper by SVN Rock Advisors in Burlington, Ont.

ldquo;Purpose-built rental student housing is a growing market that has seen steadily rising demand over the last 20 years, and a supply that has only just started to rise to meet it.rdquo;

The company says real estate investors must understand that renting to students is much different than a traditional rental. For example, most conventional rental buildings lease apartments for a year, but students usually only go to school for eight months of the year. This means they must try to sublet the apartment for the other four months.

Many students also try to partner with other students to save living costs. ldquo;In conventional rentals, it means leasing a unit and then subleasing to roommates who share the rent. This practise places a number of burdens on the student and raises uncertainties for the landlord. If one of the roommates moves out, the other tenants have to cover that share of the rent. Purpose-built student housing rents units by the bed, rather than by the door. Students are responsible for their own rents, and all tenants within a unit are covered by the protections and obligations of the lease,rdquo; says the SVN Rock Advisors white paper.

But it says the only region addressing the demand for purpose-built student housing is Waterloo, Ont., which has 23,387 beds in off-campus developments, although this is still below the estimated population of the arearsquo;s two major universities. Toronto is the next largest market with 4,681 units, followed by London, Ont. and Vancouver.

ldquo;Privately operated, purpose-built off-campus student residences are the most attractive type of off-campus housing for students,rdquo; says SVN Rock Advisors. ldquo;In Canada, however, this market is only just maturing and so not all student housing markets offer private student residences.rdquo;

As of January 2019, SVN says an estimated 51,747 purpose-built off-campus student beds were available or being built across Canada.


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11 Improvements To Your Garage That Will Add Value To Your Home

A Functional Garage Door

Heavy garage doors that must be opened manually are not very appealing to potential homebuyers. Homeowners interested in maintaining the value of their home should install fully automatic garage doors if the garage does not already have one. At the very least, heavy garage doors that must be opened manually should be switched out in favor of lighter, aluminum doors.

A new garage door can provide a significant increase to the bottom line of a home when it is time to sale. Homeowners should consider replacing a garage door with a color that goes well with the house.

Improve Ventilation and Insulation

If your garage is attached to your home and you live in an area that experiences extreme weather conditions, it is a good idea to insulate the ceilings and walls of the garage. This will help you better control the climate inside your garage and offer protection for you and your car against the weather.

In addition to providing >

nbsp;You should also take measures to assure proper ventilation in the garage. This will prevent carbon monoxide fumes from seeping into your home. You can purchase a carbon monoxide detector to alert you to any potentially dangerous situations regarding the toxic gas.

Be Smart With Storage Space

It is common practice to store objects that are out of season or not in use in garages. However, cluttering the garage spaces with boxes of old clothes, old bicycles, and broken appliances may send the wrong message to a buyer interested in your house. The buyer may feel there is insufficient storage space inside the home.

It is suggested that homeowners use plastic bins to house these unused items. Once the bins are filled, they should be labeled and placed onto shelves. A little additional shelf space can do wonders for increasing the number of items that can be neatly stored so if there are not enough shelves present in the garage, you should add a few.

One solution is to install wire shelves along the walls of the garage. You can also purchase shelves that stand on their own and are specifically designed to work with large plastic bins. You should always be careful that these freestanding shelves are attached to the wall secu>

Make Sure Lighting Is Adequate

Motion sensor lights are excellent selections for a garage. If your garage already has motion sensor lights but they are not bright enough, consider adding a few more lights to the space. Adequate lighting in a garage is not just a matter of aesthetics but also provides for better work efficiency and safety for your family.

Traditional fluorescent lighting is more than adequate for most garage space. It is important to remember that some fluorescent lights will not function properly when the weather dips beneath a certain temperature. You should choose lights that are sufficient for the coldest temperatures expected in your garage. Temperature guidelines should be written on the ballast.

Dont Overlook The Garage Floor

There are a number of projects available to the homeowner that wants to upgrade their garage floor. Some possibilities are the addition of a floor cover that attaches itself to the garage floor, adding tiles to the floor, or choosing to apply epoxy shield paint.

Painting your garage floor with an epoxy finish will cause it to become easier to keep clean. The finish will prevent any oil or other fluids that may leak from your car from staining the floor. Epoxy finish is also great for adding a shine to the floor that will attract the eye of potential buyers.

Some homeowners also like the idea of making their garage floors slip-proof. There are two ways this objective can be obtained. The first way is to texture the concrete in a way that prevents slipping or sliding along the surface of the floor. The second method to slip-proof a garage is to add a gritty substance to the floors surface.

Add A Lift

Sometimes homeowners find functional space is sparse in their garage. One solution to this space is to add a car lift in your garage. A car lift will provide the means to basically store two cars with the same amount of space. No major renovation is needed and car lifts are excellent ways to store boats, hobby cars, and seasonal vehicles without the high cost of paying for storage elsewhere.

A car lift is a novel addition to a garage that packs a great aesthetic punch. Potential buyers of your home will be impressed with the upgrade.

Provide A Comfortable Work Environment

If your garage is a place you like to work, there are a number of additions you can make to the garage to make so that you are more comfortable while you work. An anti-fatigue mat placed in front of the main area of work is a good first step. These mats are commonly used in industrial workplaces where workers spend a great deal of the day on their feet. A good anti-fatigue mat will decrease the amount of fatigue in your legs and preserve your ankles and feet while installing louvers, scoops, and othernbsp;accessories.

A wall-mount fan is excellent for keeping the garage cool in the summer months. You can outfit these fans with motion sensors that will assure the fan comes on whenever you enter the garage. These upgrades will definitely catch the eye of potential homebuyers who also see the garage as a great place to perform work and indulge in their hobbies.

Electrical Outlets

It is suggested that two wall outlets per wall should be present in your garage up to a total of six for a one car garage. If your garage does not possess this number of outlets it is a good idea to hire an electrician to make this upgrade. The cost of adding these outlets is >

Keep The Space For The Car

Many home experts believe that garages which are partially outfitted to double as things like painting rooms or craft shops not only fail to add value to the price of the home but may actually decrease the sale price of your home. This fact is especially true if the buyer considering the home does not agree with the vision you possess for the garage.

When considering the sale of your home, it is probably best if the main use for your garage is storing cars that are not being used by you or a family member. The prospective buyer can provide his own vision for the space if necessary after the home is purchased.

Build Additional Bedroom Above Garage

Space in a house is always at a premium. One way to gain extra living space in your home is to build an additional bedroom above the garage. Bedrooms built over a garage add significant value to the home because they offer great curb appeal and are often large bedroom spaces. These bedrooms add even more value when they contain a full bathroom.

You might need a professional to take a look to determine if the structure and framing of the garage can bear the weight of the new bedroom before construction begins. Other factors to consider when building a bedroom above a garage is fire safety, insulation, and plumbing.

Keep Area Outside Garage Clean

All the interior changes in the world will not add value to a home whose garage looks old, junky, or dilapidated outside. Most buyers form their impression of a house before they ever step through the front door. A failure on your part to tidy up around the outside of a home can discourage them before they fully consider all the great features your home has to offer them.

Final Thoughts

Your garage can play many more roles than a simple storage space for a car that is not in use. These uses can add functional improvements to your home as well as provide the home with improved aesthetics. However, if planned correctly, all of these upgrades are capable of adding significant value to the price your home can command if you later choose to offer it for sale.


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How to Handle Loan Conditions

All loans will have loan conditions. But for those not familiar with the approval process, when the lender contacts the applicant after having reviewed the file it can cause some uneasiness. Why does the lender want to know this or that? Is there something wrong with my application? Am I going to be turned down? The fact is that most of these conditions are >

There are two types of conditions lenders issue- Prior to Document and Prior to Fund. Prior to ldquo;docrdquo; conditions are those that command a little more attention because itrsquo;s holding up the loan approval. The lender canrsquo;t deliver closing papers to the settlement agent until these items are cleared. For instance, an applicant submits bank statements and paycheck stubs as part of the documentation process. The applicant gets paid on the 1st and the 15th. The paycheck stubs also reflect these dates and the bank statements also show direct deposits matching the pay on the 1st and the 15th. But there is also a deposit on the 10th that doesnrsquo;t match up with anything. The deposit is 6,000. If those funds are needed to close, there will be a prior to doc condition wanting verification for the source of funds. The approval process essentially stops until this explanation can be provided and approved.

The more benign condition is the prior to fund condition. This condition is typical of most all loan approvals and not serious enough to hold up closing documents, but still needs to be addressed. A common prior to fund condition might be an updated paystub. Credit documents within a loan file need to be no more than 30 days old. If the most recent paystub covering a 30 day period is 45 days old, the lender will assume the next paystub is coming and move forward with the approval.

The borrower will attend the settlement, sign the closing papers and send the most recent paystub to the lender, satisfying the condition. The lender will see the new paystub and >

The main takeaway here is that when, not if, the lender asks for more information is to stay calm and provide the requested items as soon as able. Donrsquo;t delay answering the request. The sooner you provide whatrsquo;s needed, yoursquo;ll make your closing date on time.


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Marketing to Millennials: Advice for Real Estate Agents

Many millennials are at the age where they want to buy their first homes. When marketing to millennials, itrsquo;s important to understand how they communicate, and their habits and interests. Herersquo;s how to market to them.

Communicate in a >

Millennials tend to want quick responses to their questions. Find out their communication preferences and use them. This may include emails, skype, text alerts etc.

Your website should contain comprehensive information where they can learn more about the buying and selling process as well as the local market. An active blog gives the impression that you are on top of all the changes affecting local housing.

Millennials will ask plenty of questions, especially if they are buying their first home. They love to research and have access to plenty of information. If they are looking for a home in a particular neighborhood, itrsquo;s not unusual for them to look at the crime rate, check demographics, and more.

What you can do is demonstrate your in-depth knowledge of the local market to them. Start building up a >

Use the latest technology

Millennials are interested in high >

When they find a home that interests them, they will use technology to find out as much as they can about it. They will look at the aerial and street view on Google Maps. They will also closely examine 3D virtual tours. You will need to keep up with the latest technology and use it if you want to appeal to them.

Use social media platforms

If yoursquo;re going to market to millennials, itrsquo;s essential to use social media. Using Facebook Live, Snapchat or Instagram Stories will help you to reach them, especially if you come across as genuine, honest and approachable.

Instagram is particularly popular with millennials. Shoot short videos and publish them as is or add words or graphics to highlight certain points. Take a video and pin it to your profile so followers can see it every time they see your profile.

Short videos can highlight a major selling point in a house, such as a beautiful fireplace. You can even create multiple short videos of the same house, showing different features and adding text.

Millennials will connect with you if you have an interesting story to tell. Vivid, colorful, well-made videos are often the best way to tell the story about a home.

Give them evidence

Many millennials will research you online before they decide to use your services. Reviews and testimonials matter to them, as do referrals from their peers. You need to provide proof that you are worthy of their consideration.

Once yoursquo;ve managed to get their attention, they will want to see evidence to support what yoursquo;re offering to them. They want you to backup your answers with resources, like housing price comparisons and particularly want resources they can access themselves.

Like it or not, millennials are the dominating generational force in the housing market today. If you want to market to them successfully, you need to know how to appeal to them.


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How to Make your Home Smarter with these Smart Home Appliances

A smart home is a place where appliances, lights, gadgets, security, - and pretty much whatever else you want - are all connected to one another. nbsp;You can also control them remotely using a simple app. This kind of a home gives owners comfort, security, and convenience. It may sound confusing. That is why you should read on to get the image of your ideal Smart Home.

Getting a smart system for your home can save time, money, and energy. Most homes arenrsquo;t built with these appliances, though. The easiest thing to do is to introduce these appliances into an already made home. Letrsquo;s see which devices today have their lsquo;smartrsquo; counterparts.

Hubs

If you want your doors to unlock, your lights to turn on, and your kettle to start working the moment you approach your house, this is the device for you.

A smart home hub is the first step towards a smart home and the heart of the network. It is a hardware or software that connects devices in a house and controls communication among them. Plus, it enables the user to control the entire place by a single app.

Another useful feature is that you can control your devices while you are away from home via this device so, you can go out anytime you want.

Speakers

Imagine the world where you dont have to get up to play music, find the remote, and turn on the lights. Now you can say a command, and have it done in an instant.

Smart speakers are wi>

This gadget has many applications, playing music being just the tip of the iceberg. You may set alarms, and have your questions answered, for example. It is able to interact with other devices in the house, making the possibilities truly endless. So amazing

Lighting

Convenience, comfort, and looking cool are all connected by this device. Smart lighting consists of light bulbs, all connected to adjacent ones by a network, and controlled by a hub.

You manage smart lighting with a simple app. It allows you to change the brightness of the bulbs, and even the color if your light bulbs have LED lights. Now you can have the perfect lighting for every situation and switching between them is a tap of your finger away.

Some of these systems may also have useful features, such as dimming and motion detection.

Plugs

This is the perfect device to smartify your non-smart appliances. It is an excellent investment, and a significant first step towards a smart home.

A smart plugrsquo;s function is to allow remote control over whichever appliance you have plugged into it. For instance, you may check on your oven from across town if you get anxious about leaving it on.

Besides letting you manage your devices, you get the option of creating a schedule. Wave the worrying away and get one today

Doorbells

Now you donrsquo;t have to peer through the spy hole to see who is ringing your doorbell. This devicersquo;s first concern is safety, and convenience comes as a strong second.

You will get a notification to your smartphone when somebody is at your door. It has a camera and sends a live video recording of your visitor. Also, you can have a two-way conversation via a smart doorbell.

Sensors

Getting a smart sensor for your home means not getting up on every sound you hear at night. It also means not having to hire a house-sitter for your vacation. nbsp;Safety meets convenience with this handy new device.

Smart sensors have systems which perform specific actions as a response to environmental input. nbsp;They can notify you about an uninvited intruder, about a window or a door that is accidentally open, and to turn on the lights when you enter the room.

The main point of all these devices is to make your life easier. You can definitely live without them, but you dont have to anymore. There are more and more affordable options. You dont need to buy every single one, either - but it will be hard to choose with so many fantastic options


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5 Very Important Checklist Items Before Selling Your Home

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 >

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 familys 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.nbsp;

Next, plant the ldquo;for salersquo; sign in your front yard and discuss with your realtor. Then, yoursquo;ll be all set to start showing your property.

nbsp;


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The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Your House Organized All the Time

Store Things Where You Use Them

If you have to go get an item, use it, and then walk a long distance to put it back in its place, you are likely to just give up and lay it down after using it. Instead, create organizational spaces right by items you commonly use. A few things to consider are cups for pens by your desk, a tray to hold your remote on the coffee table, and a shoe rack by your doornbsp;

Look for Creative Ways to Simplify Your Life

Each home is unique, so everyone has one or two things that always get in the way of being completely organized. Think carefully about major organization hassles that take up too much time in your life and then consider how you can cut back on the inconvenience. For example, if you spend hours every Christmas sorting out a garbage bag filled with tangled lights, consider switching to a pre-lit Christmas tree.

Stock Up on Containers

Storage bins, boxes, and baskets are the ultimate tip to making any room look organized. Containers are helpful because they ensure that every object has a specific place, and they clear up visual clutter in a room. To make things easy for everyone to find, consider using labels or putting things in clear bins so you can easily see them.

Tidy Up During Wait Time

Throughout our life, we end up using almost two years of our time waiting around. Those who feel like they cannot stay organized because they are always too busy can use this time to tidy up. For example, you can load a few dishes in the dishwasher while you wait on the microwave, or sort out a messy bathroom drawer as the shower heats up.

Create a System for Paper

One of the biggest culprits of mess in the modern home tends to be paper. It is far too easy to just toss a stack of mail in a letterbox and ignore it for weeks. The end result tends to be drawers, bulletin boards, and boxes that are just a mess of random pages no one needs. Creating a system for dealing with this ensures that you deal with the root of this problem. Make it a goal to open mail and discard of all unnecessary items as soon as you get it. Every week or so, sort through the pages you keep and file them away in a box.

Organize for Five Minutes a Day

The final key to avoiding hours spent organizing every few weeks is to break organizing down into tiny, manageable chunks of time. Professional organizer Heidi Goodwin recommends her clients aim to tidy up the house for five minutes every day. This should just be a quick walkthrough where you sort through a stack of bills, straighten throw pillows on the couch, or make your bed.

These helpful tips keep you from having to spend major time completely organizing and tidying up your house regularly. If you want to live in an organized home everyday, all you need to do is keep on top of the mess. Once you get into the habit of being organized, it is far easier to keep it up.

nbsp;


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A New HomeWithout Moving

What if there was some way to get that lsquo;new homersquo; buzz without the hassle? Well, of course there is, and thatrsquo;s why people spend time and money updating their homes.

Here are five ways to get yourself a new homehellip; without moving

  • 1. Extend

  • A lot of people move home because their current house is becoming a bit of a squeeze. Maybe children have come along or you now work from home. If you have the garden space, it can make financial sense to build an extension rather than find a new property. The key thing is to do the sums up front, set a budget and stick to it.

    The joy of an extension is that you have a new rooms to plan and >

  • 2. Update the kitchen

  • The kitchen has become the heart of the home, with many properties now featuring a large living space based around the kitchen. Whether or not your house will allow for a big space for cooking, dining and just hanging out, replacing your kitchen is a great option. It will renovate your house, add value and give you that lsquo;new homersquo; pleasure.

    Work with a kitchen planner to create a perfect layout, but donrsquo;t be afraid to shop around to get the update done at a price you like. Itrsquo;s often cheaper to buy appliances independently rather than through the kitchen specialist.

  • 3. Blitz the bathroom

  • Lots of us love staying in hotels and luxury apartments because of their opulent bathrooms. If this is you, think about bringing a boutique bathroom to your home. A new bathroom suite costs less than you think and will revolutionise how you feel about your bathroom. You could focus on updating your shower-bath or creating a luxurious walk-in shower, and then adding new tiles and flooring to suit your personal >

  • 4. Change the layout

  • If extending isnrsquo;t an option for you, you might look to knock down an internal wall to create a more spacious room ndash; a larger living room or an extended kitchen space. If your floor plan doesnrsquo;t give you that option, think laterally about changes you could make. Could you move to a different bedroom? Swap a dining space with a living room? Add an en-suite to your room? All of these options will give your home a new lease of life.

  • 5. Open up your loft

  • Our attics and lofts are nearly always wasted ndash; theyrsquo;re just dark, dusty storage areas. Making better use of this space will give you access to a whole new room. A master bedroom, an office, a den for the childrenhellip; You can either formally convert the space with dormer windows, or renovate it yourself. There are lots of great ideas here.

    So, with a little imagination you can achieve that happy new home without all that house-hunting, packing and spending. Enjoy your new property


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    Six Creative Ways to Drum up Interest in Your Home

    Organize a block party

    If you live in a neighborhood where everyone knows each other, fantastic Get everyone together on the street and offer to serve drinks or dessert in your house so you can make sure everyone comes on in. If yoursquo;re not super friendly with them, a block party is a great way to get to know the neighbors yoursquo;ll soon be leavingmdash;and maybe uncover someone whorsquo;s interesting in finding a new place in the same neighborhood.

    Have an estate sale

    A garage sale may attract mainly ultra-bargain shoppers, but an estate salehellip;thatrsquo;s another story. Not only do you have an opportunity to sell some of the items you donrsquo;t intend to take with you to your next home, but you may find a potential buyer, too. If you donrsquo;t have enough items to sell, enlist a few neighbors. They might be more than willing to haul over their old sideboard and china set for a chance to get it sold with minimal effort.

    Show off the goods

    Have a newly renovated kitchen you want to show off? Ninenbsp;out of 10 property purchases are decided by women, so invite the neighborhood moms over for wine and hors drsquo;oeuvres. You never know who will fall in love with your kitchen island and decide they need to move.

    Let your neighbors know on Nextdoor

    Depending on how your neighborhood Nextdoor is run, your post may be flagged and taken down. But, before that happens, you just might be able to zero in on a prospect or twomdash;before you even list your home for sale

    Rent a gaming truck

    For a couple hundred bucks, you can rent a gaming truck to park in your neighborhood. Invite all the moms to hang out inside with you, where they can ooh and ahh over your home while the kids are occupied and having fun in the truck.

    Ask your neighbors to put the word out

    Turning your neighbors into an extension of your real estate agentrsquo;s marketing team is easy. After all, they care about who their future neighbor will be, right?


    Full Story >


    10 Tips for Creating a Calmer, More Peaceful Home

    Add some greenery

    Studies have shown that plants can make your home feel calmer and ease anxiety. Plants like jasmine and English ivy can improve sleep, lavender and rosemary can lower stress, and several other plants have been shown to improve air quality so you breathe easier.

    Hide the electronics

    ldquo;Nobody wants to stare at a tangle of cords,rdquo; said Houzz. ldquo;Thankfully, we have more options than ever for keeping our tech devices hidden away. When possible, choose smaller, wi>

    Get a dog

    Or a cat, a bird, or a turtle, for that matter. Yes, having a pet can mean more noise and more mess. But, there are all kinds of studies that show that having a pet lowers stress. ldquo;Researchers found that pet-owning patients with high blood pressure could keep their blood pressure lower during times of mental stress than patients without pets,rdquo; said AnimalSmart.org. ldquo;Another study showsnbsp;that pet owners may also have increased odds of surviving for at least a year after having a heart attack.rdquo;

    Clear the clutter

    Going all Marie Kondo on your home can have surprising effects on your mental state. ldquo;Clutternbsp;can playnbsp;a significant role in how we feel about our homes, our workplaces, and ourselves,rdquo; said psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter innbsp;Psychology Today. ldquo;Messy homes andnbsp;work spacesnbsp;leave us feelingnbsp;anxious,nbsp;helpless, and overwhelmed.rdquo;

    Tone down the harsh colors

    Therersquo;s something to be said for going bold, but soft colors can bring on a calming feeling. If you want a deeper color, consider shades of blues and greensmdash;two colors that are known to be more serene than, say bright yellow, orange, or red.

    Clean up your entryway

    Itrsquo;s the first place guests see, and while you probably donrsquo;t pass by or through your front entry all that often if you park in the garage, it may not feel as welcoming as yoursquo;d like when you do.

    Soften the lighting

    Harsh overhead lighting can make you feel like yoursquo;re being interrogated, and can also be hard on your eyes. If you need to keep it because the space will be too dark otherwise, a dimmer can at least give you some control over just how bright it is, and allow you to create a mood with lower lighting as needed.

    Limit the patterns

    ldquo;Opt for solids and subtle patterns,rdquo; said Houzz.nbsp;ldquo;Busy patterns have their place, but if yoursquo;re aiming for calm, then solid fabrics are your friends. Donrsquo;t be afraid to include subtle patterns, though: herringbone, tone-on-tone stripes, and tiny dots can add textural interest without competing for attention.rdquo;

    Buy some fresh flowers

    According to a study by Rutgers, ldquo;The presence of flowers trigger happy emotions, heightens feelings of life satisfaction and affects social behavior in a positive way far beyond what was originally believed.rdquo;

    Make your master bedroom a zen zone

    Getting good rest is key, and there are several ways you can create a soothing space. Keeping the colors serene is key, and so is a good mattress. Loading the bed up with soft textures can also help. ldquo;The sensation of touch is often overlooked, but a powerful way to unwind,rdquo; said Mass.gov.


    Full Story >


    How Airbnb Has Changed Things for Apartment Complexes in Recent Years

    Nowadays, Airbnb is a staple of avid travelers, nomads, foreign workers, and even locals. Itrsquo;s completely changed the face of the tourism, vacation rentals, hospitality industries, and as far as we can see, the popular brand will likely be around for many years to come.

    Not only has Airbnb drastically changed how people travel and book their lodgings, but itrsquo;s also made some big waves in the world of real estate. Communities and property owners have recently stepped up to talk about how the company has impacted their world. Some of the effects have been profitable. Others, not so much.

    Letrsquo;s talk about some of the major changes Airbnb has ushered in for apartment complexes.

    1. People Are Renting Apartments to Post on Airbnb, Not to Live In

    In places where tourists are common, an interesting trend has arisen since the boom of Airbnb. Many people are renting apartments not to live in, but to post on Airbnb and make a little extra money.

    Take a quick search on Google and yoursquo;ll find articles like ldquo;Making Money With Airbnb Over 10,000 Per Month.rdquo; Surprisingly, many people make a viable income with this new form of tourist accommodations. As long as you have space to lease and the permission of the propertyrsquo;s owner, then you can turn a quick profit by conducting short-term leases with visitors or even locals.

    Now, when you walk by an apartment complex in a place like New York City, itrsquo;s quite possible that one or many of the units are rented out to visitors - at least part-time on Airbnb. There are more than 17,000 listings in NYC alone, which has led to a great deal of discussion on the cityrsquo;s short-term rental laws and apartment complex contracts.

    2. Landlords and Property Managers Have Changed Their Contract Stipulations

    At first, there were very few restrictions as to what residents could and could not do when it came to renting their apartments on Airbnb. Now that the service is popular around the world, more and more landlords are making efforts to control what their tenants do with rentals.

    Although legal restrictions on short-term home rentals vary from location to location, landlords can also impose their own restrictions on how their properties are used. Now, if you want to lease your apartment through Airbnb, yoursquo;ll need to carefully read through your rental agreement. Many contracts now prohibit short-term rentals and sublets, unless the landlordrsquo;s permission is obtained well in advance.

    The punishment for leasing on Airbnb without permission from the landlord? In many cases, itrsquo;s an eviction.

    3. Rent Prices Are Increasing in Big Cities and Popular Tourist Destinations

    The simple math is that when there are more Airbnbs in a location, the increase typically coincides with a hike in rent prices. Why? A study conducted in Boston found that if Airbnb can make short-term rentals easier for people, including local residents, rent for long-term apartments would go up.

    Airbnb may be targeted at out-of-towners, but locals have certainly taken advantage of the business opportunities. Cities only have so much available housing, so the more apartments that are dedicated to Airbnb rentals, the less there are available for long-term rentals. More demand and less availability lead to higher rent costs.

    Because Airbnb, among other short-term rental services, is making such a direct impact on local rentals, policymakers around the world are trying to figure out how theyrsquo;ll deal with the problem. Many are looking to regulate short-term rentals to help stabilize rent costs and provide more housing for local residents. For instance, in Hawaii, legislators have recently approved a plan to tax Airbnb rentals more than regular apartment complexes.

    This will certainly change how tourists stay on the Hawaiian Islands, and it will also make a difference in how much rent costs as well as how landlords decide to use their properties. If it costs more in taxes to rent short term, perhaps more long-term living options will become available to locals.

    In Summary

    Airbnb has made travel more affordable and comfortable than ever for millions of travelers around the world. However, itrsquo;s clear that this new trend of short-term rentals has made heavy impacts on big cities, apartment complexes, and property managers.

    Over the next few years, we can expect more and more places to start analyzing their short-term rental regulations to keep rents from fluctuating with the ebb and flow of tourism and Airbnbs. We may also see more taxes and fines put in place to limit the number of short-term rentals.

    No matter what happens, one thing is clear: Airbnb hasnrsquo;t just changed the way we vacation; itrsquo;s changed the way we rent our homes, too.


    Author Bio:nbsp;Eric D. Davis is the Founder of Davis Property Management; we help property managers and potential tenants looking for Seattle Property Management and Maintenance services. We have been the front-runners in providing best-in->
    Full Story >


    Three Needless Seller Worries

    As if there isnrsquo;t enough for sellers to worry about when they decide tonbsp;sell their home, some of them needlessly worry about things that theirnbsp;real estate professional is responsible for. After making the decision to sell and selecting a listing broker, thenbsp;associated worriesndash;which sellers face alonendash;are behind them.

    Once the home is listed, sellers often shift to a new set of worriesnbsp;when really they should turn to the real estate professional they hirednbsp;to help them stop stressing. Then sellers can redirect their attentionnbsp;and energy toward contributing to a successful sale.

    Seller Worry 1. ldquo;My Listing Is Not Receiving Enough Exposure tonbsp;Buyersrdquo;

    bull; Are you insisting your listing professional advertise and postnbsp;everywhere, online and off?
    bull; Do you want open houses every weekend and multiple mailings tonbsp;the neighborhood?
    bull; Are you concerned that if your listing is not front and centernbsp;on every marketing and advertising site, in every brokerage campaign,nbsp;and in every real estate publication, yoursquo;re not getting enough exposurenbsp;to buyers?

    Unless you are a marketing professional yourself, step back. Let yournbsp;listing real estate professional do their job. What really matters isnbsp;exposure to specific buyersndash;target buyersndash;whonbsp;qualify-financially to purchase your home and whose needs match whatnbsp;your property has to offer. Marketing to people States away from yournbsp;home or to those without sufficient financial resources or those whonbsp;would not value your home is a waste of time, effort, and money. Thenbsp;Internet is a wonderful marketing tool because it enables targeting ofnbsp;specific subsets of people, not because the entire world could view yournbsp;listing.

    YOU WIN: If you were smart in your choice of listing broker, yoursquo;venbsp;selected a real estate professional and brokerage well acquainted withnbsp;the target buyer niches markets that will appreciate your listing. Theirnbsp;experience and success of matching buyers with properties is why you hirednbsp;this professional listing team. Real estate knowledge about where targetnbsp;buyers search for listings, online and off, and what benefits attractnbsp;them is what you need and what you are paying for. On-pointnbsp;communication in the right media will catch the eye of target buyers. Ifnbsp;your professional hasnrsquo;t told you already, ask about target buyers andnbsp;the strategies for reaching them.

    Seller Worry 2. ldquo;The Professional Is Too Busy To Work on My Listingrdquo;

    If you are concerned that your real estate professionalshy;ndash;thenbsp;listing salespersonndash;is not putting the time into your listing thatnbsp;they said they would during their listing presentation, call them onnbsp;this. You need to be sure your listing receives the attention you signednbsp;on for, but more may be going on than you realize, so approach thenbsp;subject with respect:

    bull; The multiple listing system or MLS is doing a lot of thenbsp;professionalrsquo;s work, as are online public versions and the internet innbsp;general. Allowing simultaneous access to your listing by multiple buyersnbsp;and real estate brokerages maximizes exposure and speeds up the sellingnbsp;process.
    bull; The other salespeople at the listing brokerage are also workingnbsp;to sell your listing, as are professionals on the local real estatenbsp;board. The listing salesperson will be searching out target buyers;nbsp;however, the professionalrsquo;s key value lies in promoting the propertynbsp;across the real estate board to salespeople who also work with the samenbsp;target buyer niche markets.

    Seller Worry 3. ldquo;My Home Is Not Being Described Properlyrdquo;

    Do you feel the advertising and online copy promoting your listing doesnbsp;not rave enough about your property or extol the virtues of yournbsp;favorite features?

    bull; Understanding what will catch the eye of target buyers is whatnbsp;really matters, not how you feel when you read the marketingnbsp;copy. Yoursquo;re not the target buyer. In fact, you may have little innbsp;common with them, except, hopefully, your house. They do not have thenbsp;knowledge associated with living in your home the way you do.
    bull; Buyers are buying a house or condominium unit based on hopesnbsp;and dreams that it will be their ldquo;dream home.rdquo; Before they live in it,nbsp;they need to love it and value itndash;perhaps for very differentnbsp;reasons than youmdash;so they will make a great offer.
    bull; The real estate professional understands how to stimulate thenbsp;interest of prospective target buyers by helping them make thenbsp;transition from thinking about ldquo;the propertyrdquo; to wanting it to be ldquo;mynbsp;home.rdquo; Creating this emotional attachment in home buyers who have spentnbsp;only a short time viewing a property requires communication skill andnbsp;real estate expertise.
    bull; Wording matters. Terms like ldquo;as is,rdquo; ldquo;total remodel,rdquo; or ldquo;fixernbsp;upperrdquo; leave different impressionsndash;good or badndash;withnbsp;different types of buyers who are looking for different types ofnbsp;properties. For instance, the word ldquo;modernrdquo; is very popular withnbsp;Millennial buyers and with buyers intent on a certain >

    Donrsquo;t stress in silence. Inquiring is not complaining. Express yournbsp;concerns to your listing professional, so they can reduce your stressnbsp;and help you understand real estate from your new ldquo;insiderrdquo; perspective.

    As you begin to fully grasp the significance of your transition fromnbsp;thinking about ldquo;my homerdquo; to celebrating the buyersrsquo; ldquo;new homerdquo; andnbsp;potential real estate purchase, yoursquo;ll feel more confident regardingnbsp;your decision to move and about the selling process.

    Yoursquo;ll also understand the value in helping your real estatenbsp;professional do their job for you.


    Full Story >


    Skip the Pool and Turn Your Backyard Into an Oasis With a Beach-Style Pond

    But have you ever thought about turning your backyard into a beach instead? You might now.

    There are a number of companies that will design and build backyard ponds for homeowners all over the country, but Zydeco Constructionrsquo;s ponds go a step beyond the norm. The company, based out of southeast Louisiana, approximates the look and feel of a tropical getaway with sand all around the pond, which creates a beach->

    ldquo;Why travelnbsp;to a beach when you can have one in your own backyard? Thatrsquo;s the idea behind one Louisiana companys latest projects,rdquo; said USA Today.nbsp;ldquo;Zydeco Constructionnbsp;builds lsquo;swimming pondsrsquo; that are crystal blue and have 360 degrees of sand surrounding them, resembling a beach. Each swimming pond is completely customizable, with accessories such as outdoor kitchens, gazebos, umb>

    If you need another reason to work with the company in creating the backyard of your dreams, consider this: Owner Eric White fought his way out of teen homelessness to found the thriving company.

    ldquo;I have a story to share that is pretty inspirational,rdquo; White said to USA Today. ldquo;Growing up, things werenrsquo;t easy for me. I was homeless at 15nbsp;for about eight months of my life mdash;nbsp;I had dropped out of school in the ninth grade and only had a second-grade reading skill. I could hardly even spell my name.rdquo;

    While pricing for these backyard ponds will vary depending on the size and the number of personalizations included, White has said that itnbsp;costs around 20,000 and up to constructmdash;ldquo;which is not far off from thenbsp;national average cost to build a standard-size in-ground pool, which clocks in at 22,000,rdquo; said simplemost.

    nbsp;

    Image source: Zydeco Construction


    Full Story >


    7 Packing Mistakes Youre Making

    Here are ten moving mistakes you may be makingmdash;and how to avoid them.nbsp;

  • 1. You figure you can pack everything in a few days

  • Begin with a planmdash;and start packing weeks in advance, especially if you have a lot of stuff. But before you just start piling things into boxes, spend the time up front to make an inventory of everything that needs to be either packed or tossed and break it down room by room. It will save you time down the line and spare you a few grey hairs too.nbsp;

    2. You wing the whole labeling thingnbsp;

    Think yoursquo;ll be able to remember which boxes go with each room based on memory? Think again.nbsp;

    Label boxes by contents and room location to make delivering them to the right spots easiermdash;and so you donrsquo;t have to rack your brain trying to remember Donrsquo;t >

    3. You go cheap on moving supplies and boxes

    Between friends, donation centers, and neighborhood-sidewalk giveaways, there are lots of ways to get free moving boxesmdash;but donrsquo;t get skimpy about purchasing new ones. Itrsquo;s worth the extra 40ndash;50, especially if it spares you from breaking something worth much more.

    When it comes to buying boxes, make sure you have the right sizes for the different items youre packing. Heavier items like books, canned goods, and candles may need to be packed in smaller, more compact boxes, where lighter objects can go in bigger ones.nbsp;

    Bear in mind that youll need to pack all these boxes into a moving vehicle, so be strategic about getting boxes that can stack together and not just a few of each size.nbsp;

    Knownbsp; which packing materials should be used, and if yoursquo;re on the fence about how much you should buy, buy liberally. Itrsquo;s way better to have extra than to make a frantic last-minute trip to the store come moving day.nbsp;

    Also, know that moving with plastic totes is a no-no. Plastic totes seem cost efficient, but they have a tendency to crack when placed under a ton of weight.

    Lastly, steer clear of being that person who tosses a mishmash of random things into a trash bag. That person is likely to open those bags to a few broken items I may or may not be speaking from experience.

    4. You pack boxes thinking you have superhuman strength

    Your Stephen King collection isnrsquo;t going to move itself, so unless you want a good workout, donrsquo;t fill your boxes to the brim with books. The heavier and denser you pack a box, the greater the chance it could break through again, may or may not be guilty of this.

    As a rule of thumb, try to avoid making boxes heavier than 50 pounds. Not sure how to gauge whatrsquo;s 50 pounds? Slide that sucker onto a scale. And if you have a hard time lifting it onto a scale, well, itrsquo;s probably too heavy anyway.nbsp;

    5. You leave empty space in your boxesnbsp;

    Empty space equals shifting, which can equal your favorite mug breaking or your ceramic spoon rest cracking. Leave enough room for bubble wrap and packing paper, and fill any empty space in boxes with packing material e.g., packing paper, newspaper, good olersquo; peanuts.

    Maximize your space by wrapping things in towels and tee shirts to fill empty space. Plus, then yoursquo;re not filling one box with towels and tee shirts and another with only candles or booksmdash;this will make it easier to transport.nbsp;

    6. You donrsquo;t get rid of stuff before the move

    Take a cue from Marie Kondo and go through your belongings before you move so you can get rid of the stuff that doesnrsquo;t bring you joy. Yoursquo;ll have less to pack and load and unload and itrsquo;ll make the whole thing a lot easier.nbsp;

    As you pack, sift through your things room by room and categorize your joyless items into piles to toss, donate, or sell.nbsp;nbsp;

    7. You donrsquo;t pack an overnight bagnbsp;

    The last thing yoursquo;ll want to do once you arrive at your new home is fish for a towel so you can take a shower or shuffle through boxes to find some PJs.nbsp;

    Plan ahead by assembling an overnight bag with toiletries, clothing, and any other essentials yoursquo;ll need at your new pad until you start unpacking and settling in. Yoursquo;ll thank yourself later.nbsp;nbsp;


    Authorrsquo;s bio: A Washington, DC, native turned West Coast transplant, Julia is a full-time writer and amateur hiker. Experienced in >
    Full Story >


    VA Closing Costs: Seller Paid or Buyer Paid?

    Those who are eligible for a VA loan include not only veterans but also active duty personnel with at least 181 days of service, National Guard and Armed Forces Reserve members as well as unremarried, surviving spouses of those who died while serving or as a result of a service->

    With VA loans, there is a form of mortgage insurance called the Funding Fee but itrsquo;s an initial, upfront fee that isnrsquo;t paid for out of pocket but instead rolled into the final loan amount. This fee varies but for first time buyers using a 30 year fixed rate loan, the current funding fee amount is 2.15 percent of the loan amount. This ldquo;loan guaranteerdquo; is a guarantee to the lender.

    Should a VA loan go into default, the lender is compensated at 25 percent of the loss. VA loans going into default is actually rather rare compared to other loan programs and is one of the highest performing loans in the industry. This despite no initial ldquo;skin in the gamerdquo; from the home buyer.

    There is no down payment but there are closing costs. There are closing costs with all home loans. Even so-called ldquo;no closing costrdquo; loans. When borrowers see the term no-closing cost, itrsquo;s important to understand whatrsquo;s being offered. For example, say someone is offered a 30 year fixed rate at 3.50 percent with no discount points. But the borrower is also offered a rate of 3.25 percent with one discount point. A discount point is expressed as a percentage of the loan amount. Conversely, the borrower can lock in a rate of 3.75 percent, or 0.25 percent more than the no-point loan, lenders can then extend a one point credit toward the borrowerrsquo;s closing costs. There are closing costs, theyrsquo;re just reflected in the higher rate.

    VA guidelines however restrict the borrowers from paying certain kinds of closing costs, another benefit with the VA program. Borrowers are only allowed to pay for an appraisal, credit report, title charges, origination fees, recording and survey fees where required. The other buyer fees must be paid for by someone else. Often times itrsquo;s the sellers of the property. When an offer is made, and the sellers see the buyers are obtaining VA financing- it will state so on the offer- they know theyrsquo;ll be asked to pony up some additional funds at closing to pay for the additional fees.

    But the sellers are under no obligation to do so. As an incentive to the sellers, a potential buyer might increase the offer to compensate for the additional costs. Note, these additional costs really donrsquo;t add up to much compared to the entire set of closing costs, but additional costs they are.


    Full Story >


    Can I Put Cameras in My Vacation Rental? Keeping Your Property Safe Without Violating Guest Privacy

    There are plenty of ways vacation rental homeowners can leverage advances in security technology to both protect their property and the safety of their guests without infringing on their privacy. Understanding what monitoring devices are acceptable for vacation properties will help homeowners navigate the best devices for each particular property.

    nbsp;Here are some monitoring devices you can use to make sure your home is safe, your neighbors are happy and your guests have the best experience.nbsp;

    Surveillance Systems and Cameras

    Letrsquo;s start with the most highly controversial ndash; video monitoring. As mentioned earlier, itrsquo;s important to obey the law and maintain the privacy of renters. What does the law say? In general, there canrsquo;t be any video monitoring where a guest would have a reasonable expectation of privacy. You can read Airbnbrsquo;s policy here.

    What are some examples of locations where a guest would have this reasonable expectation? Airbnb states ldquo;bedrooms and bathrooms.rdquo; However, while TurnKey does not allow for any interior video monitoring of any kind, owners can use surveillance cameras outside the property to catch break-ins, stop a potential party or identify suspicious activity, so long as they are disclosed to guests in the listing description. The most common and simple setup we see is a doorbell camera. TurnKey integrates directly with Ring doorbell cameras, an effective solution that is also friendly on the wallet.

    If you list your property with VRBO and Airbnb, make sure you are familiar with their policies. Both listing companies require owners to notify their guests when they have cameras or other surveillance systems throughout the property, including baby monitors, web cameras in computer monitors and other video and audio recording devices. If homeowners fail to comply, the guest may receive a full refund or free cancellation for the reservation, and the owner could have their listing removed from the platform enti>

    Noise Monitors

    As vacation rentals become more popular among travers, neighbors and local communities often have concerns about noise levels. As an industry, our goal is to provide a great guest experience while also being a good neighbor. In this light, noise is not our friend. To address these concerns, some property owners and managers are turning to noise monitoring devices. These devices monitor the noise level in and around their rental properties for added guest safety, and to make sure guests arenrsquo;t throwing large parties or becoming a nuisance to neighbors. At TurnKey, for instance, we make sure every home we manage has a noise decibel monitor to help protect homes and increase guest safety.

    Just to be clear, noise monitors donrsquo;t record conversations or any audio at all. They simply detect high levels of noise activity, typically registering the decibel level inside or outside the home. This ensures guest privacy while also providing an added layer of security, as noise monitors can also help detect the presence of unwanted visitors, such and thieves or other intruders.

    Lighting Control

    nbsp;A dark house can be an invitation for burglars and a safety hazard for guests unfamiliar with the layout. Remote control and automation of your lighting can not only save you money on your electric bills, but can deter unwanted intruders while making guests feel safe and welcome. One security expert told me: ldquo;Want to learn when your home is being broken into? Get an alarm. Want to prevent the break-in? Get landscape lighting.rdquo; Lighting is one of the most effective ways to prevent issues.

    There are several options for automating your lighting systems. Google Smart lighting and TCP wi>

    Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

    It is important to have a plan and the tools to detect a fire or carbon monoxide, not to mention keeping your guests safe while they are staying in your vacation rental. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are table stakes for keeping your home and guests safe from potential disasters like fires and gas leaks. But you may not know that many listing sites require hosts to agree to comply with local regulations, and may even display if a home has smoke and CO detectors right on the listing.

    Private Security Patrols

    Many neighborhoods have private security patrols in place, but for those that donrsquo;t, hiring a patrol to drive-by on a regular basis is extremely effective. Patrols can check for noise, parking issues, parties, damage and intervene when necessary. TurnKey has security vendors in every single market we operate in, some on regular nightly patrols of homes, others on call. In some markets we drive by homes 3-4 times a night on weekends and peak dates. Patrols can be expensive depending on your location and the density of homes nearby, but in many markets they can be worth it.

    Security Systems

    Thankfully the number of break-ins at vacation homes is incredibly low. It makes sense ndash; ra>

    When using a security system on your vacation rental, itrsquo;s important to also consider guest privacy and overall experience. For instance, guests should not feel trapped within the home theyrsquo;re renting if your alarm system automatically activates after 10 p.m. Plus, you should not want to share the code to your security system with every guest who rents your home. Typically security systems are shut off before and during the entire guest stay, and re-activated upon check-out.

    Home security systems can be costly depending upon the equipment used, installation, activation fees and upfront charges. Some also require a recurring monthly payment. However, home security systems have come a long way in the last 20 years and there are a variety of high-quality wi>

    Door and window sensors: Leaving your windows unprotected can provide easy access for intruders and for potential damages from windows broken by tree branches, hail and high winds.

    Motion sensors: In case an intruder makes it through the doors or windows undetected, motion sensors can detect their presence and serve as a back-up in case of failure of other features.

    Mobile remote controls: Mobile controls give you the ability to arm and disarm your security system while yoursquo;re away. With housekeepers, repair people and guests coming and going, you can make sure your property is protected without any additional hassle.

    Sirens: If an intruder were to enter your home, a siren can scare them off and warn them that the authorities are on their way.

    As you can see, there are many monitoring, security and safety devices allowed in your vacation property to protect your investment and your guests. Make sure you evaluate your property needs to balance the solutions you require with what you can afford. In addition, donrsquo;t forget to account for the savings you could accrue from electricity bills and insurance discounts, as well as how these items can enhance your guestsrsquo; experiences when they feel safe and secure knowing you took the extra steps to ensure their well-being.

    nbsp;

    Full Story >


    Top 5 Reasons to Use White Glove Moving Services

    A team of white glove movers can make any >

    Top 5 Reasons to Use White Glove Moving Services

    1. Professional packing and unpacking.

    White glove movers will arrive at the indicated location with all the needed wrapping and packaging materials to properly pack your possessions the way they deserve. They will also take care of the unpacking and disposal of the unnecessary materials once your property is delivered to your new home.

    2. Custom art crating.

    Some items, such as valuable paintings and delicate sculptures, need to be crated in durable wooden crates for their safe >

    3. Moving large and bulky items.

    Most regular movers do not have experience and capacity to move such large and bulky items as grand pianos, antique furniture, and fitness equipment. White glove movers, on the other hand, can handle any objects, no matter their size and weight. So if you are planning to move oversized items of any kind, using white glove moving services is your best chance to complete the task without injuries and damage.

    4. Storage and installation options.

    Whether you need a secure place to store your possessions for some time before or after the move, or you need a >

    5. Exceptional customer service.

    White glove movers are all trained specialists with extensive experience in moving luxury homes and large estates. They are dedicated to providing exceptional customer service with an emphasis on transparency and efficiency, offering the best moving experiencenbsp;to each and every one of their clients.

    Moving is always stressful, but you can make this process as easy and smooth as possible if you use specialist white glove moving services. Professional movers can take the worry out of any move, turning it into an enjoyable experience that you will remember for years to come.nbsp;


    Full Story >




    Copyright© 2019 Realty Times®. All Rights Reserved

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