4 WAYS TO FIND A GOOD DEAL ON AN INVESTMENT PROPERTY


HOW TO FIND A GREAT DEAL ON YOUR NEXT INVESTMENT PROPERTY

More and more people are taking control of their financial futures and investing in real estate. While this is great news, there’s a problem. The more people want to buy property, the harder it is to find good deals. Supply and demand – you know how it goes. 

Gone are the days of hiring a real estate agent and finding deals on the MLS. Today’s real estate investors are changing it up a bit to find great deals on properties. Instead of following the norm, they are willing to do what no one else is doing. Are you ready to do something different to find great deals? If so, here are four ways to find a good deal on an investment property. 

1. THE DRIVE-BY

If you’ve ever driven by a house for sale and thought, “Man, that house needs some work,” then you’re already doing the “Drive-By.” The “Drive-By” is simply the act of getting in your car and driving around looking for properties for sale. The key to this method is to seek out properties that look like they need work or are otherwise unkempt in some way. 

Look for unmowed lawns that show an owner may not care as much about the property as he should, as well as piles of newspapers or wet mail that may indicate no one lives on the property. 

You can then contact the owner and offer to purchase the property, negotiating a deal that suits your budget. 

2. EVICTION RECORDS

Ask any landlord and they’ll tell you that evictions are not fun. In fact, many landlords question being landlords when going through one. It’s during this time you may find some great deals on a property owned by a landlord who’s more than ready to get out of the game. 

Evictions are public record, so all you have to do is head to your local county administration office and have a look at the current evictions taking place. From there, you can make your phone calls or send your postcards as mentioned in #1 and #2. 

3. WHOLESALERS

How nice would it be to sit at home while someone else hunts down the great deals? That’s exactly how it could be if you had a wholesaler. All you have to do is find a reputable wholesaler and get on his or her buyer’s list. From there, you just sit back and watch your inbox for all the great deals. 

4. THE MLS

While we mentioned earlier in this post that the MLS is old news, the truth is, it’s not dead. You can still find some good deals on there from time to time, but because the market is so inundated with buyers, it’s more difficult. The key to this method is to browse the directory religiously and jump on any listing that seems like a good deal before someone else can. 

 Great real estate deals are out there for the taking, you just have to be savvy enough to know how to find them. When looking for your own great deals, be sure to check all the sources mentioned above. 

HOW TO CLEAN VARIOUS GADGETS AROUND THE HOUSE

How to Clean Various Gadgets Around the House

HOW TO SAFELY CLEAN YOUR TECH DEVICES

We all know our world is full of germs, but it’s likely you don’t really know what’s hanging out on your electronic devices. In fact, you probably don’t want to know. 

These devices carry and spread germs like nobody’s business, so it’s time to get scrubbing. Below, we give you safe and effective ways to clean the various gadgets you use in and around your home every day. 

Cleaning Supplies

  • Microfiber cloths
  • Cotton swabs
  • Distilled water
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Dish soap
  • Compressed air

TABLETS AND SMARTPHONES

Like everyone else, you’ve probably taken your tablet or phone into the bathroom with you. No need to be embarrassed. You need something to do while in there, right?

Unfortunately, it’s these trips to the bathroom that leave your gadgets filthy – like get-you-sick filthy. To deep-clean your phone or tablet, remove its case. You have to be careful of its fingerprint-resistant coating, so dampen a microfiber cloth with distilled water and wipe it down. Use cotton swabs to clean around edges and buttons.

LAPTOPS

There’s no telling what kind of gunk and bacterium lives within the keyboard of your laptop since it travels everywhere you do. To begin cleaning this piece of equipment, open it up, turn it upside down, and give it a good shake to remove crumbs and dirt. 

Next, turn the device off and remove its battery. Using a microfiber cloth dampened with alcohol, wipe down its metal and plastic surfaces. If your laptop has an LCD screen, make sure to use a cleaner designed for the purpose. If it’s a touchscreen, use distilled water to wipe it clean.

FLAT SCREEN TV

Flat-screen TVs usually have anti-glare coatings that are sensitive to most household cleaning solutions. To safely clean your TV, dampen a microfiber cloth with distilled water and wipe it down. Avoid using any other type of cleaner as it will likely damage the screen permanently. 

GAME CONSOLES AND CONTROLLERS

You wouldn’t believe the level of nastiness your game controllers can achieve. Since you handle them so much, they collect germs and bacteria like a magnet. 

To clean the console and controllers, dust everything off first with a dry cloth. Next, dampen a cloth with alcohol and wipe all surfaces thoroughly. Dip a cotton swab in alcohol as well and go around any crevices and buttons to remove any buildup there. Since you use these gadgets so often, it’s a good idea to keep some anti-bacterial wipes handy to wipe them down often. 

EARPHONES AND HEADPHONES

These gadgets are so close to you that it’s important to keep them clean. For over-the-ear headphones, wipe them down with a slightly damp microfiber cloth. For earphones, remove any plastic tips and then use a dab of soap on a damp microfiber cloth to remove any built-up earwax. Lastly, gently wipe any cords with a cloth dampened with alcohol. 

In today’s technologically advanced world, we take our gadgets for granted. Unfortunately, these handy pieces carry a plethora of nasty germs and grime that can make us sick. To keep the bacteria to a minimum and stay healthy, use the tips outlined above to clean the various gadgets around your house.  

4 BUYING TIPS FOR NEW REAL ESTATE INVESTORS

4 Buying Tips for New Real Estate Investors


FOLLOW THESE TIPS WHEN BUYING YOUR FIRST INVESTMENT PROPERTY

1. GET THE MATH RIGHT

One of the biggest mistakes new investors make is miscalculating the expenses and cash flow of owning a rental property. For example, many newbie investors underestimate the cost of making repairs and over-estimate the amount of rent they can charge after the repairs are made. It’s important to do a little research into the surrounding properties to find out what comparable costs and rents are in the area. 

And remember, the longer it takes to make the repairs, the more your property costs you because you have to pay the mortgage, taxes, insurance, and utilities out of your own pocket in the meantime. 

2. DON’T GET EMOTIONAL ABOUT AN INVESTMENT

There is no place in real estate investing for emotions. It’s a business, and as such, you need to stay detached and patient. Getting emotional about an investment property can lead you to make snap decisions that can cause you to miss opportunities or cost you money. 

As an investor, you’ll likely deal with several buyers at once, with only one deal working out in the end. You can’t let your emotions or the emotions of the buyers influence your decisions. The name of the game is profit, and for your best chance at success, leave your emotions out of it. 

3. NEGOTIATE

Most sellers expect to negotiate with interested buyers. If you don’t do a little negotiating, the sellers may not take you seriously. Set a price in your head that you refuse to go over and stick to it. Offer the lowest price you think the sellers will accept and get ready to haggle. 

You may go back and forth with the sellers several times, but if they refuse to accept an offer that falls below your top price, be prepared to walk away. If you’ve stayed emotionally detached, this should be relatively easy. 

If the sellers are in a hurry to get out from under the property, they will likely call you back in a few days to say they are willing to take your offer. By sticking to this practice, you will almost always get a good deal. 

4. HAVE FINANCING IN PLACE BEFORE MAKING AN OFFER

When buying real estate, most sellers want to know you can pay for their property. Whether you’re purchasing a property to flip it, or you plan to hold it as a rental property, you need to get pre-approved for a loan before ever making an offer. 

Real estate investing is a great way to make money and fund your retirement, but it requires a lot of knowledge and work to be successful. If you’re looking to make your first investment property purchase, following the tips above can make it a successful one. 

GREEN WAYS TO GET RID OF HOME REMODELING DEBRIS

Green Ways to Get Rid of Home Remodeling Debris

DISPOSE OF REMODELING DEBRIS THE ECO-FRIENDLY WAY

The most successful home remodeling projects begin with planning. While it’s impossible to predict everything, you can plan things like the materials you’ll use and how you’ll get rid of all the waste and debris the project is sure to generate. 

You may think that simply tossing that old bathroom linoleum in the dumpster is sufficient, but did you know that more than 30 percent of the waste that ends up in landfills comes from home remodeling projects? That’s a lot but committing to sustainability in the way you dispose of your project’s waste by recycling, reusing, or selling it can likely save you a lot of money. 

In the information below, we’ll give you a few ways you can recycle or reuse some of the materials you would otherwise throw away and how you can dispose of paint and other chemicals safely. 

RECYCLING YOUR REMODELING MATERIALS

Nearly 85 percent of all home remodeling materials can be recycled. There are a couple of benefits to recycling your remodeling debris, both of which could save you money. 

  • Recycled building materials can be written off at tax time, and
  • Some recycling companies will pay you for the remodeling materials you recycle. 

So, not only are you doing your part for the planet when you recycle your unused remodeling materials, but you’re also saving yourself money you wouldn’t have otherwise saved. 

GETTING RID OF UNUSED PAINT

If you’re like most homeowners, you have stacks of paint cans taking up space in a corner of your garage or basement. Since only 3 states (California, Oregon, and Connecticut) have paint buy-back programs, it’s very difficult to get rid of unused paint safely everywhere else in the country. 

Having said that, there are a few things you can do to make sure your leftover paint doesn’t cause environmental concerns once your home remodeling project is finished. 

  • Buy eco-friendly latex paint that doesn’t contain volatile ingredients
  • Donate unused paint to Habitat for Humanity
  • Don’t use oil-based paints as they are more hazardous for the environment
  • Buy only the amount of paint you need to complete your project
  • Recycle the empty steel cans
  • Use leftover lighter shades as base coats on future projects, and
  • Add a paint hardener to leftover paint to make it safer to dispose of

REUSING BUILDING MATERIALS

Most home remodeling projects involve demolition rather than deconstruction. Demolition means you remove all the old materials any way you can. Deconstruction is basically reversing the installation process to make it easy to examine and reuse the materials. By deconstructing your project, you can reuse some of the materials as suggested below.

  • Carefully remove old cabinetry. You can reuse the wood or the cabinets themselves, or you can donate them to a local non-profit organization. 
  • Paint old hardware for a fresh look
  • Take drywall sheets down whole to reuse when building new interior walls
  • Reuse old screws and nails
  • Use reclaimed wood from other areas or locations

Whether you’re doing your home renovation yourself or you hire a company to do it for you, make sure you do your part to save money and the planet by practicing sustainability in the disposal of the project’s waste. 

3 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD GO TO OPEN HOUSES

3 Reasons Why You Should Go To Open Houses

3 BENEFITS OF ATTENDING OPEN HOUSES

If you’re like most people, you look forward to browsing other people’s homes while looking to buy your dream house. There’s something exciting about getting a peek into the lives of complete strangers. Having said that, there are a few other reasons you should go to open houses, even if you’re not in the market to buy a new home. 

1. EDUCATE YOURSELF

If you’re selling your home or might be in the market to sell soon, visiting open houses gives you an opportunity to take advantage of the listing agent’s knowledge and educate yourself. In addition to seeing what other properties are for sale, you also find out what comparable houses are selling for in the area. 

Take a few minutes to speak with the listing agent to find out what’s happening in the housing market in your area and get her take on future trends well before the media has a chance to report it. 

2. DISCOVER THE CURRENT HOME DESIGN TRENDS

Home sellers present their homes in the best shape possible. This usually means making necessary repairs and updating cosmetic aspects of the home. Sellers often turn to their real estate agent for help in what’s hot and what’s not in home décor, so by visiting open houses, you get a good sense of what’s current in the world of home design and décor. 

Even if you’re not looking to sell your home any time soon, visiting open houses will likely give you a good idea of where to start to bring your own home’s décor into the current decade. 

3. FIND GOOD DESIGNERS AND CONTRACTORS

When you walk into someone else’s home and are awestruck by the beauty within, you may be inspired to do the same in your own home. Visiting open houses gives you plenty of opportunities to gather the contact information of various designers and contractors so you can replicate their awesome work in your own home. 

Of course, it’s a good idea to ask family and friends for referrals if you’re looking to do some remodeling work in your own home, but don’t be afraid to ask a listing agent for referrals, too, if you see something you like while visiting an open house. This will give you more options when you decide it’s time to renovate your home in the future. 

Open houses aren’t just for people looking to buy a new home. Anyone can attend open houses and it’s a good idea, especially if you’re selling a home yourself, need some new ideas for your own home, or are looking for good, reliable contractors for a future project. The next time you see an open house in your neighborhood, take a few minutes to stop and look around – even if you aren’t in the market for a new home. 

HOW TO BE AN EFFECTIVE PROPERTY MANAGER

How to be an Effective Property Manager


WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A GOOD PROPERTY MANAGER

The job of a property manager is a challenging one. With tenants coming and going, late rent payments, and virtually endless maintenance requests, it can be the most stressful part of owning investment properties. 

The good news is, managing your own rental properties doesn’t have to be such a stressful job. With a little planning and organization, you can be an effective property manager. Below, we’ve outlined a few tips to help you do just that. 

1. AN EFFECTIVE PROPERTY MANAGER HAS A POSITIVE ATTITUDE

Whether you own one investment property or several, you have to approach each problem with a positive attitude. Look at it as an opportunity to make things better for yourself and your tenants. Studies show that people who look at the bright side of things are much happier, and overall more successful, than people who always see the negative side of things. 

2. YOU HAVE TO BE A “PEOPLE PERSON”

Since you’ll be dealing with all kinds of people on a regular basis, you need to be able to relate to them. Communication is key in this profession and being able to talk to and understand your tenants and their needs is important. 

3. AN EFFECTIVE MANAGER AUTOMATES AS MUCH OF THE PROCESS AS POSSIBLE

As a property manager, you’re responsible for a plethora of paperwork and money. Even if you’re used to doing things the old-fashioned way, being an effective property manager means you embrace the new technologies that are designed to make your job easier and less stressful. 

For example, the Internet offers a multitude of ways to automate processes like rent collection, maintenance requests, communications between you and your tenants, and more.

4. A GOOD PROPERTY MANAGER KNOWS THE COMPETITION

Owning a rental property is a lot like owning a retail business. You have competition waiting in the wings to steal your tenants away with the lure of cheaper rent or better amenities. To be a successful landlord, you must research the competition to make sure your rental rates are in line with others in the area as well as to learn new ways you can improve and grow your business. 

5. PROFESSIONALISM AND ORGANIZATION GO HAND-IN-HAND

Every good property manager understands the importance of being professional at all times. Whether with tenants, contractors, business partners, etc., an air of professionalism lets people know you’re serious about your role. 

To carry this one step further, you must be organized as well. Owning and managing one rental property may be easy, but if/when you own more than one, having an organized, efficient way of conducting business will help you be the great property manager you want to be. 

6. SMART PROPERTY MANAGERS HAVE A SOLID NETWORK

Every smart property manager has a network of other real estate professionals, contractors, and mentors he or she can turn to for assistance in managing their rental properties. Building a network like this will help you learn as you go and will be a source of support in trying times. 

Property management is a challenging profession, but with a little planning and organization, you can make it a successful career. Follow the tips above to become an effective property manager.

6 TIPS TO MAKE DECLUTTERING YOUR HOME LESS OF A CHORE

6 Tips to Make Decluttering Your Home Less of a Chore

HOW TO DECLUTTER YOUR HOME THE EASY WAY

There are many benefits to living a life with less clutter. For example, there is less to clean and it’s easier to find what you’re looking for. Life seems less stressful when you have less clutter around you. For some people, however, the mere thought of going through their things and getting rid of them is overwhelming. 

If you fall into this category, but you would love to free up some space and get more organized in your life, the following tips will make decluttering your home less of a chore. 

1. TAKE IT SLOW

Decluttering your home doesn’t have to be a race. You don’t have to finish it all in one day. If decluttering is a new concept for you, begin by spending just five minutes a day going through stuff and marking things for donation. 

After the five minutes, pick one item and get rid of it. If you do this every day, you will get rid of 365 items in the first year. 

2. DONATE YOUR UNUSED CLOTHING

Everyone has clothes in their closet they never wear at all. To designate these items for donation, turn all the hangers backward on the bar. Every time you wear a piece of clothing, turn its hanger back the right way. After a few months, anything that’s not turned around can be donated to Goodwill. 

Of course, there are bound to be clothing pieces that only get worn for special occasions, so use your judgment when deciding what should go. 

3. MAKE A LIST

Some people work better when they have a clear plan in mind. If this is you, create a list of rooms or spaces you’d like to declutter. Order your list according to which is most important and begin there. Make sure to mark completed items off your list so you can see the progress you’ve made and have the incentive to keep going. 

4. VIEW YOUR HOME AS OTHERS SEE IT

As occupants in a home, we often become blind to certain aspects of that home. We become desensitized to things like clutter and smell. To give you a good idea of how cluttered your home is, take a step back and look at it as if you are a guest walking into it for the first time. This practice can be quite the eye-opener in many ways. 

5. TAKE BEFORE AND AFTER SHOTS

Social media can be a very powerful tool, especially if you are the type that likes validation for your hard work. Take before and after photos of the decluttering you do and post them on Facebook so others can cheer you on. Once you see your progress and you receive such praise, you’ll be motivated to continue decluttering your home. 

6. ENLIST THE HELP OF A FRIEND

Call on one of your closest friends or family members to help you decide what stays and what should go. Have your friend designate several items for donation. If you agree, then the items go. If you don’t agree and have a good reason for wanting to keep the item, your friend has to accept your reasoning, or the item needs to go. 

Decluttering for some is just part of everyday life. For others, however, it’s a chore they’d rather not do. If you’re in the latter category, the tips outlined above can make decluttering your home less of a chore.

Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2020 is Classic Blue

Home Maintenance

You can expect to see a lot of blue next year.

Pantone announced Wednesday night that its 2020 Color of the Year is Classic Blue, a shade reminiscent of the sky at dusk.

“It’s a color that anticipates what’s going to happen next,” said Laurie Pressman, the vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, which selects the Color of the Year. “What’s the future going to bring as we move into the evening hours?”

This is indeed a pertinent question as we embark on a new decade. But as forward-looking as it may be, the 2020 color brings us almost full circle to the first Color of the Year, Cerulean, another blue hue chosen in 1999 to likewise capture a moment in time.

“We were moving into Y2K and wondering: Is the world going to fall apart?” said Pressman.

The Pantone Color Institute said it recognized similar feelings of instability gripping the world today, from the United States to the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Syria and across the globe. It settled on a shade that offers the reassurance, confidence and connection that people may be searching for in an uncertain global milieu.

Pantone has named a color of the year for more than two decades. In 1963, the company created the Pantone Matching System, a proprietary system used in a variety of industries such as printing, graphic design and fashion design to manage colors.

There is no Color of the Year crystal ball

Each year’s color is decided through a long and thoughtful process that takes into consideration lifestyle and industry trends, said Pressman.

“Typically, trends that we see in color are reflecting big macro trends that are taking place in culture,” she explained.

Color influences can come from art, upcoming media, movies, lifestyles, socioeconomic and political conditions, travel destinations, new technology — really anything.

The name of the color is an important factor.

“If you have a color called Brown Dirt, versus Chocolate Fudge, it takes on two completely different meanings,” said Pressman. “The name really has to resonate with the message that we want to get across.”

True to its name, Classic Blue can be regal, restrained and boundless. But it can also be edgy — even anomalous — utilizing a variety of tonalities, materials and prints. (Think a new-age, Classic Blue concept car.)

Incorporate Classic Blue into your 2020

For those who want to sport the 2020 color, Pressman recommends Classic Blue accent pieces such as a scarf or watch strap, or a vase or candle for your home or workplace.

Read more on CNN.