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Smaller Home, More Pets: Downsizing When You Have an Animal Companion

If you have a dog or a cat, you’re among the majority of households in the United States. While we typically think of animals needing lots of room to roam, the truth is that many of our pets will thrive in a smaller home or even a condo. If you’re looking to downsize, don’t fret. The tips below will help you make your move without upsetting the delicate balance your animal has come to expect.

Today’s post is just one of many informative pieces presented by the Home Girls.

General Home Buying Tips

Before we get into the specifics about moving with the pet, it’s a good idea to cover a few quick points about buying a home in general. First, check your credit score. This will help you make a better decision on the type of loan to apply for. For a conventional loan, you may need a higher credit score than if you opt for an FHA or VA loan. You can find out more about the different types of mortgages by visiting Penny Mac US. You also have to determine a budget, decide where you want to live, and partner with a realtor that has experience in your location.

Features to Consider 

When you’re downsizing, you’ll need a home that continues to meet your and your furry family’s needs. Aside from the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, you’ll want to make sure that your new home has a yard or is within close proximity to public areas where dogs can run and play off-leash. If you do opt for a house with a backyard, it must be fenced, ideally with solid materials, which will keep your pet from being distracted by other animals and neighbors. Daily Paws suggests fencing made from vinyl, wood, or metal.

Something else you must also think about is whether or not you plan to live in a community with a Homeowner’s Association. Some HOAs may restrict the number of pets you have and bar you from having a certain type of fencing or a visible doghouse (in this case, you’ll have to get creative).

Are You Selling, Too?

If you also plan to list your current home and you have pets living with you, you’ll need to set the stage for a successful sale so that you can expedite the moving process. Your first task here is to remove evidence that a pet still lives in the house without downplaying features that will appeal to other pet parents.

Getting rid of the smell is your hardest task but one made easier when you open the windows. This is especially effective when the weather cools down and you can keep the windows open for longer, which helps circulate air and purges your home of dust, smoke, and other irritants, such as pet dander. Comfort Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing cautions, however, that you might want to keep the windows closed if it’s humid out. Regardless, you’ll still need to make sure to shampoo the carpets, clean the upholstery, and move your pet’s food, bed, and toys out on showing day.

Moving Day Mayhem Averted 

Moving day is a source of stress for many animals (not to mention their human companions). You can streamline the process by hiring a moving service, keeping your pet safely in their crate, and making sure their tags and microchip are up to date in case they wander during all of the excitement. If you’re moving across state lines, talk to your vet about obtaining a health certificate and whether or not you need medicine on hand for motion sickness.

Downsizing has become more popular among empty-nesters, retirees, and younger couples. But, less space doesn’t mean you can’t find the perfect house for your entire family, those with four legs included. Talk to your realtor and veterinarian if you need more information or guidance.

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Becoming a Homeowner Despite Your Financial History: 5 Essential Tips

You’re tired of renting, and you’ve been daydreaming about buying your first home. But you’ve made some financial mistakes in the past, and now, you’re not sure if you’ll be able to purchase a home. However, buying a home with a rocky financial history could be easier than you think, especially with alternative financing options provided by Home Girls Property Solutions. Here’s how to close on your ideal property, no matter your financial background!

Pay Down Debt

Even if you wish you had made different financial decisions in the past, you can start improving your current financial situation today by paying down your debt. If you’ve only been making minimum payments on your debt, it’s time to start allocating more money towards this goal each month. Go over your budget to figure out which unnecessary expenses you can cut, and consider starting a side hustle to bring in some extra cash. Not only will having a smaller debt burden give you peace of mind, it will also improve your credit score, which can help you qualify for better terms on your loan.

Improve Your Credit

In addition to paying off your debt, there are plenty of other strategies you can use to boost your credit score. And if you stay focused on increasing your score by sticking with these financially savvy habits, you’d be surprised by how much progress you can make in just a few months! If you want to fix your credit score, Nerdwallet recommends disputing any potential credit report errors, using less than 30% of your credit limit on each card, and, of course, paying off your bills on time each month.

Research Types of Mortgages

You do not necessarily need to take out a conventional mortgage. Many people assume that a conventional mortgage is their only option, but in fact, there are a wide variety of mortgage loans that you should research! For instance, Summit-Mortgage states that if you have a shaky financial track record, you may still meet all of the requirements for an FHA loan or a USDA loan. If you’re a veteran, you may be able to use a VA loan. You could also look into buying a home through owner financing.

If you’re not sure what type of mortgage is right for you, it’s a good idea to seek professional advice. You can talk to a housing counselor to get an expert opinion.

Accept a Higher Interest Rate

You can shop around at different mortgage lenders to find out who will offer you the best interest rate. However, keep in mind that your financial history might mean that you will need to pay a higher interest rate. But this doesn’t have to be an obstacle to homeownership. You can accept a loan with a higher interest rate now in order to buy your house and then consider refinancing your mortgage in a few years.

Offer a Larger Down Payment

Your real estate agent can help you find homes within your budget. Overall, it never hurts to offer a bigger down payment if you’re concerned that your financial history might make it more difficult for you to buy a home. A large down payment proves that you’re capable of making and saving money, and it will also create a more enticing offer for a home seller.

If you’ve struggled financially before, don’t assume that homeownership is out of your reach. You may be surprised by the many flexible mortgage options available to homebuyers. With these tips, you’ll be able to secure a loan and get an offer accepted on a home you love!

Having trouble buying a home with a traditional mortgage? Home Girls Property Solutions can help you become a homeowner! Connect with us through the contact form on our website to get started.

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Why High-Income Households are Downsizing to Rent

Why High-Income Households are Downsizing to Rent

The U.S. is home to more renters than ever before. Today’s renters aren’t just students and those who can’t afford to buy, however. Renting is also growing more attractive to wealthy Americans seeking convenience, flexibility, and efficiency. The number of high-earning renter households rose 45% between 2010 and 2018 before spiking even higher during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why are high-earning Americans renting at record rates, and what does this mean for the multifamily sector? These are the need-to-know insights from Home Girls Properties.

Why high-earning Americans are choosing to rent

Renting has long been associated with less space, autonomy, and stability. So why are well-to-do Americans choosing to rent?

Affordability

Rising home prices make renting more favorable for young professionals who may lack the savings for a down payment or the emergency fund to weather the unexpected costs of homeownership. Renting is cheaper than buying in several top markets including Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; San Diego, California; and Seattle, Washington. That’s before factoring in the upfront costs of buying a home.

Young adults are also waiting longer to get married and start families. For these households, renting is a practical choice as well as a financial one.

Flexibility

Remote work made Americans realize they can work anywhere. In response, they’ve left high-priced urban centers for areas with lower costs of living, proximity to family, and greater recreational opportunities.

These professionals aren’t setting down roots, however. Instead, they’re taking advantage of renting’s flexibility to keep their options open. Whether you want to explore a new destination every few months or pursue new opportunities at a moment’s notice, renting makes it possible.

Convenience

Walkable neighborhoods, on-site amenities, and maintenance-free living appeal to Americans of all ages. Retirees, working professionals, and families alike want to spend less time commuting and keeping house and more time enjoying their lifestyle.

Renting not only delivers a central location at a lower cost than a comparable home, luxury rental communities include top-shelf amenities: Of the 611 properties currently for lease in Fort Worth, TX, 266 include a fitness center, 208 have on-site personnel, and nearly 378 boast a pool.

Aging in Place

Retirees are ready to downsize from suburban homes to walkable communities, but they face fierce competition for affordable houses in desirable locations. Rather than sacrifice a great location, they’re leaving homeownership behind in favor of a low-maintenance renter lifestyle.

Beyond the immediate cost savings, renting avoids many of the accessibility issues related to aging in place. Homeowners spend thousands modifying homes for aging in place, whereas many modern apartments are built with accessibility in mind with features like elevators, open floor plans, and hardwood floors.

Is this the year to invest in multifamily property?

With more high-earning households entering the rental market, is 2021 the year to invest in multifamily rental property? Multifamily real estate historically outperforms other commercial real estate sectors through downturns and the demand for modern multifamily housing is only rising.

Fort Worth is among the hottest markets to watch in multifamily. With this in mind, 2021 could be ripe for opportunity in the multifamily sector. Let Home Girls Properties guide you through the process of finding your next home in Fort Worth. Contact to learn more. (214) 676-1085

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Senior Living Decisions: Rent, Sell, or Keep Your Home?

If you’re entering your retirement years, you might have realized that you would be safer and more comfortable in an assisted living facility rather than your family home. Now, you need to determine what you should do with your current property. Navigating this process can be tough on your own, but working with Home Girls Properties can take away your stress! These guidelines will help you decide how to manage your family home if you need to move into assisted living.

Types of Accommodations

First, it’s important to gain a thorough understanding of the various housing options available for seniors. A retirement community is generally a place for active seniors who need minimal assistance, while an assisted living facility provides residents with more day-to-day support. Finally, skilled nursing facilities offer residents around-the-clock care for medical issues. To find the right local nursing home, you can check out databases like SeniorCare, where you can find comprehensive facility reports in your area of choice, as well as pricing information and a range of payment options. In Dallas, for instance, there are at least 39 facilities you can tour.

Working With a Realtor

If you will be selling your home and moving into a senior community or nursing facility, you’ll need the right realtor who understands seniors’ home and downsizing needs! To choose a great realtor, Million Acres recommends checking out their licensing and certifications, asking if they specialize in senior real estate, and considering how many years of experience they have.

Selling Your Home

If you plan to relocate to an assisted living facility, and neither you nor any of your relatives will be able to manage the responsibilities that would come along with renting out your home, you will need to prepare your home for sale. This might involve conducting minor home improvements, staging your home, and cleaning it up for viewings or open houses. Getting your home ready for the market and selling it with a realtor will incur some minor costs, but you can use the profits to cover the costs of assisted living.

Renting Your Property

Moving into an assisted living facility while renting out your previous property can be a smart fiscal choice – but being a landlord is also a lot of work, and either a relative or property manager will likely need to assist you with these tasks. Therefore, this is not a decision to be made lightly. LegalZoom states that if you want to rent out your home, you should read up on your local laws regarding tenants’ rights, get the appropriate insurance coverage, hire a reputable landlord attorney, and be prepared to thoroughly screen potential tenants. A rental property can provide a steady flow of income, but you will need to invest in your home to spruce it up for tenants.

Keeping Your Home in the Family

What if you don’t want to sell your home, but it’s not the right place for you to live anymore? And what if renting it out wouldn’t be feasible, either? You could think about keeping your property in the family as a vacation home. This could work well if your family is generally cooperative and can handle sharing the responsibilities and costs of maintaining the property. Remember, this is a big undertaking for everyone who would use the home, so do not make a decision like this without consulting every person who would be involved. You’ll need to distribute expenses fairly amongst your relatives.

Deciding what to do with your home in your golden years is as much of an emotional decision as it is a financial choice. You’ll need to consider your portfolio and whether or not your loved ones could help you manage the property. By following these tips, you’ll be capable of making an informed choice about selling or keeping your home in retirement!

Ready to start searching for a new home where you can enjoy retirement? Turn to Home Girls Properties for your search! Call us today at 214-676-1085 to get started.

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Downsizing For Seniors: What To Do With Your Home

Photo by Pixabay

When most seniors decide to downsize, they face many challenges both physically and emotionally. Letting go of possessions and the place you’ve called home for years can be very stressful, especially if you are processing all this in the wake of a major life change, like retirement or losing a loved one. While letting go of your family home and certain possessions can be a challenge, it can also become incredibly freeing; it just takes a little time to get there. Fortunately, the following tips from HomeGirls Property Solutions can help you get through the downsizing process more easily.

Why Downsize?

Many seniors are drawn to the idea of downsizing because a smaller home means saving money on the cost of utilities. Selling or renting your home can also help you pay for medical costs, living expenses, and/or caregivers who are needed for independent living. Perhaps your current home does not have the accessibility modifications to keep you safe and secure, or you simply hope to retire to a more exciting or vacation-like destination. In either case, downsizing can help.

Options for Your Current Home

Now that downsizing is on your list, you’ll want to spend a considerable amount of time deciding what to do with your current home. Take the time to look at the average cost of homes like yours in your area. This will help you decide if you want to rent your home, sell it or leave it in the care of a family member.

  • Rent Your Home: For many seniors, renting their home can create a monthly financial safety net that adds a significant cash cushion, especially for those living on a fixed income. Plus, renting gives you the option to sell later, when the housing market is leaning more in the sellers’ favor. However, Interest advises being sure you understand your legal responsibilities as a landlord, and have enough money set aside to take care of repairs (a plumbing service can cost an average of $250 to $500, for example) and keep things afloat between tenants.
  • Sell Your Home: Selling your home can give you a nice lump sum of cash, which you can use to offset the cost of a new home, travelling or medical expenses. Many seniors put that cash toward paying advance rent in an independent living center or a downpayment on a home in a retirement community. Plus, you can stockpile extra profits by selling the furniture and possessions that won’t be accompanying you to your new home. Just remember that when you’re selling your home, it’s critical that you connect with a skilled and dedicated real estate professional in the area.
  • Leave Your Home With Family: Letting a loved one move into your home after you downsize can help manage a lot of anxiety about leaving a home. This can be a helpful way to offer a loved one access to their inheritance. It can also be a great way to maintain your home as an investment property, which can provide additional financial resources in retirement. You can have peace of mind knowing your family member is managing the care and upkeep of your family home.

Weigh All Costs Carefully

All of these options come with pros and cons, so it is important you do your research first to know where you are going next and what kind of budget you’ll need. Remember to factor in your moving costs as well. You should request quotes from multiple movers, and make sure you read through customer reviews before you settle on one. With the right research, you can have a clear understanding of your finances, all the way around.

For many seniors, downsizing isn’t just about a physical place; The Huffington Post notes that it’s an emotional, physical or mental process that asks us to be thoughtful and brave. Many seniors feel overwhelmed and confused about where to begin and where to go. What to do with your home is a decision you can make on your own or with your loved ones—those who have helped you make all those cherished memories.

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Homesteading in Retirement: 3 House Hunting and Moving Tips

Not every senior wishes to downsize into a smaller home after retirement. For some, upsizing is a better choice — especially those who wish to pursue hobbies like homesteading, gardening, woodworking, or crafting. Plus, with a larger home comes more space for entertaining friends, kids, and grandkids for holidays and long weekends on the homestead.

With these three tips from the real estate professionals at HomeGirls Property Solutions, seniors will learn how to find the perfect property for homesteading in retirement — and plan a hassle-free move into their new home. Now, let’s get started!

1. Make a House Hunting Checklist

If you plan to pursue homesteading in retirement, you’ll need to find the right home and land for living, entertaining, growing food, raising animals, foraging, sewing, and any other types of homesteading activities you wish to engage in. As such, it’s important to begin the process by making a house hunting checklist that can be used during your housing search.

Depending on the types of activities you’d like to explore in retirement, your house hunting checklist may include:

  • Land for raising animals, growing food, and composting.
  • Spare bedrooms and bathrooms for hosting your friends and family.
  • Outdoor space for building a storage shed.
  • One or more bonus rooms (e.g. playrooms, workshops, or craft rooms).
  • Office space for starting a home-based business in retirement.
  • Ample kitchen space for cooking, canning, baking, and home brewing.

2. Find a Mortgage Lender and Real Estate Agent

Once you’ve made a house hunting checklist, it’ll be time to shop around for a mortgage and hire a real estate agent. The experienced real estate professionals at HomeGirls Property Solutions can help with everything from selling your existing house to finding the perfect property for homesteading in retirement, so be sure to contact them at 214-676-1085 once you’re ready to get started. You can also check out websites like LandWatch, Land and Farm, and Lands of America if you wish to purchase land for homesteading.

In addition to working with a real estate agent, you’ll need to shop around for a mortgage if you plan on financing your home purchase. To help you do it, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) shares some tips for getting the best mortgage interest rate and calculating the amount of your down payment. You can also use SmartAsset’s online calculator to get an idea of how much you can afford to spend on your home purchase. Typically, this amount will depend on your retirement income, credit score, monthly expenses, and total down payment.

3. Settle Into Your New Home

If it’s been awhile since you’ve moved into a new home, you may have forgotten all the different tasks that need to be completed before, during, and a move. For starters, you’ll need to set up utilities in your new home — including electricity, natural gas, and water, sewer, and trash. Start by comparing local utility providers several weeks in advance, and aim to set up your new utilities at least 10 days prior to your move.

If you plan on generating your own power, you’ll want to explore your alternative energy options before moving into your new home. Solar power, wind turbines, and geothermal power are a few viable options for homeowners. You may be able to harvest and harness rainwater as well, depending on where you live.

You’ll also need to research internet service providers in your area — unless you plan on living off-grid. 5G Ultra Wideband is available in many cities and just outside those cities throughout the U.S., offering you lightning-fast speeds and reliable internet coverage no matter where you live. However, it’s important to compare prices, speeds, and service options when shopping around for internet providers near you. 

Enjoy Your New Home

Once you’ve settled into your new home, you can enjoy the best of your Golden Years while living off the land, hosting your kids and grandkids for long weekends and holidays, and pursuing new hobbies in retirement. Upsizing isn’t the right decision for all retirees, but it’ll be perfect for you if you’re looking for more indoor and outdoor space for entertaining, gardening, woodworking, and enjoying other types of homesteading hobbies and crafts.

Are you interested in buying or selling a home in retirement? Contact the real estate experts at HomeGirls Property Solutions for all your home buying and selling needs! 214-676-1085; info@homegirlsproperties.com

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3 Ways to Create an Accessible Home Office for Small Business Owners With Disabilities

Launching a home-based business is an exhilarating experience for many, but finding the right office space isn’t always easy — especially if you have a disability. However, dedicated workspaces are important for a number of reasons, and it’s important to create a home office that accommodates your disability and the nature of your work. 

The following tips from the real estate professionals at HomeGirls Property Solutions share three options for creating an accessible office space for your home-based business. Read on to find the right solution for you!  

Option 1: Renovate Your Home

If you plan on staying in your current home for some time, you could renovate it to create an accessible office space for your small business. As a few examples, you could build an accessible office addition, remove walls to create an open floor plan, replace stairs with wheelchair ramps, widen hallways and doorways, and make other modifications to improve your home’s accessibility. Plus, you may qualify for federal or private grants to help you pay for your home modifications and improvements. 

Option 2: Design an Accessible Office Space

As an alternative to renovating your home, you may be able to design an accessible office space without paying for renovations. If you have a spare bedroom, for instance, you could furnish it with a few pieces of accessible office furniture and convert it into a space for your small business. 

As an entrepreneur with disabilities, your home office needs may include the following:

  • An accessible desk
  • An adjustable chair and computer monitor
  • Disability-friendly mice, keyboards, and touchpads
  • Assistive technologies such as speech recognition, text-to-speech, and word prediction software
  • Easy-to-reach shelving units, cabinets, and drawers
  • Non-slip flooring

Option 3: Buy a New House

If your current home doesn’t accommodate your disability and/or business needs, buying a new house could be the best option for you. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you begin your accessible home search:

  • What is your budget? Shaina Mishkin of Money.com offers some tips on calculating a realistic budget before purchasing a new home.  
  • What are your wants and needs? How much space will you need for your home-based business? Would a single-story floor plan without steps be best for your disability? Do you need widened hallways and doorways for wheelchair access?

The real estate experts at HomeGirls Property Solutions can help you to find an accessible home that accommodates your disability, as well as your small business. To jumpstart your search for a new home, you could also use websites like Accessible Properties and Barrier Free Home.

A Few Things to Consider

If you’re getting ready to launch your home-based small business, there are some other tasks you’ll need to complete in addition to creating your home office space. Firstly, you may choose to check your eligibility for becoming a disability-owned business enterprise (also known as a DOBE), or a veteran disability-owned business enterprise (V-DOBE). Service-disabled veteran disability-owned businesses enterprise (SDV-DOBE) certifications are also available. 

Secondly, you’ll need to decide whether to structure your home-based small business as a sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, or limited liability company (LLC). LLCs, for instance, are easy to form online or by yourself — saving you money on attorney’s fees. Plus, they offer tax advantages, legal protection, and a flexible management structure. However, each state has its own set of LLC regulations, so be sure to review these before beginning the filing process. 

After creating your accessible home office space, obtaining a DOBE certification, and choosing your business structure, you’ll be on your way to enjoying the perks of working from home. And with these accessible home office tips at your disposal, you’ll be just a few steps away from chasing the entrepreneurial dream and running your own small business! 

Ready to search for a new home that accommodates your disability and home-based business? Contact the real estate professionals at HomeGirls Property Solutions to begin your search for an accessible home! 214-676-1085; info@homegirlsproperties.com 

 

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4 Tips for Taking on DIY Home Improvements to Save Money and Stress

When you’re home needs a refresh, you may be tempted to put those projects off due to budget concerns. After all, the costs to hire a professional contractor can be pretty overwhelming, but you may not even need a pro to complete these updates. As long as you have some spare time and a little bit of patience, you can turn many expensive remodeling projects into affordable DIY improvements. Of course, having these home improvement tips and tricks can help as well. 

Take Before and After Photos

If you need to be inspired to tackle your own home improvement projects, checking out a few before and after photos online should do the trick. It’s crazy how satisfying it can be to look at these photos of other peoples’ home makeovers, so think about how happy you will be with your own transformation! Speaking of before and after photos, you should take photos of your own projects. Those photos can really come in handy if you are planning home improvement projects that will increase your home’s value because having them (in addition to receipts) can lead to a higher appraisal. Improvements that pay off the most include cosmetic changes, like fresh paint on your walls, and updates that enhance your home’s curb appeal. To boost curb appeal, spring for simple changes like repainting your front door. 

Follow Online DIY Tutorials 

A lack of home improvement experience doesn’t have to exclude you from taking on DIY home repairs and updates. However, if you have never completed these sorts of projects in the past, you will want to start with small updates and use DIY tutorials to guide your process. Some small home changes that can make a big impact on the look and feel of your home include painting your fireplace, layering your lighting, and reducing clutter. You can find tons of tutorials to help you finish these projects so try an online search or check out Pinterest. Pinterest is a goldmine for both large and small home improvement ideas and many posts include detailed instructions that make these projects totally doable for novice homeowners. 

Buy or Rent the Right Tools 

If you’re checking out online tutorials and notice folks using specialty tools, you may think that these projects are too expensive for your budget. As long as you feel comfortable taking on more complicated projects, like retiling your bathroom, you don’t have to let the cost of tools scare you off. That’s because most home improvement stores, including Home Depot, will rent out more expensive tools, including tile saws, to their customers. Renting these tools rather than buying them is not only a lot cheaper but it’s also a lot smarter since you may never need them again. What you will want to buy is at least a basic set of tools to help you take care of basic maintenance and improvement around your home. Be sure to stock your toolbox with essentials like a hammer and screwdriver, but also consider adding more advanced tools for DIY projects. 

Know When to Hire a Contractor 

Certain remodeling projects, like a kitchen overhaul, can come with a fairly hefty price tag. On average, homeowners spend anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000 to update their kitchens. So, it makes total sense that you would want to cut costs with some DIY improvements. Still, if you are thinking of making any major changes to your kitchen, or any other area of your home, you may want to think about hiring an experienced professional instead. For example, if you need to install new wiring in your kitchen, calling a licensed electrician is a much smarter and safer choice. It could end up being the less expensive one as well since faulty electrical work can cause you to have to redo your kitchen anyhow or could even cause a serious house fire. 

Simple updates can give your home a new life, but they don’t have to give your budget a workout. There are so many DIY tutorials and guides available online these days and there are also budget-friendly ways to get the tools you need. Even if you have more complicated projects, you may be able to DIY and save yourself some dough! 

 

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How to Successfully Market Your Property and Improve Your Online Reputation

To be a successful property manager, you need to be skilled at managing numerous resposibilities. And, among those things is knowing how to successfully market your clients’ vacant rentals.

In fact, one of the top reasons why property owners choose to hire professional property managers has to do with filling vacant units.

Besides honing your marketing skills, a good online reputation is a must in this digital age. Take a minute and think about it. What does a prospective tenant do when eyeing for a new place to live? Well, the most obvious thing they will do is make a quick Google search about the apartments in the area.

A savvy renter will look at various things, including the location, rent costs, amenities, and even the online reviews of the property manager. If you aren’t rated highly, then chances are that prospective tenants will be very reluctant to rent your property.

In this article, you’ll learn 5 things on how to successfully market your properties and improve your online reputation.

Tip #1: Improve your online reviews.

Improving your online reviews as a property manager is one of the most efficient and effective ways to take your business to the next level.

How easy it is to post and access the online reviews is perhaps what causes many headaches to property managers. What’s more, online reviews are the biggest source of social proof and are the modern incarnation of word of mouth.

It, therefore, goes without saying that the online reviews your tenants have left you can either make or break you.

So, form a habit of monitoring them from time to time and encourage your favorite tenants to leave you good reviews about living in your property. For tenants that leave uninspiring reviews, try responding to them and offer to resolve any outstanding issues. Doing so will make you look like the bigger person.

Although it’s never possible to please everyone, just do your best to cultivate great relationships with your tenants.

Tip #2: Do your best to rent to high-quality tenants.

The best way to improve your online reputation is by renting to high-quality tenants. That is, tenants that pay rent on time, cause fewer issues, rent long-term, and care for the property like their own.

This is also the caliber of tenants that is more likely to leave you a positive review at the end of their stay.

To get the right type of tenants, you need to have a thorough screening process. A good screening process checks for various things, including the prospective tenants’:

  • Creditworthiness: A tenant who has a good credit rating cares about their finances and is unlikely to default on rent or cause property damage. A credit report will help you get some insights on severing things, including the tenant’s collection accounts and history of late payments.
  • Background: Running a background check on a tenant will give you a detailed report of the tenant’s past. You’ll be able to learn about the tenant’s history of evictions, and criminal and public records.
  • Rental History: You also want to contact previous landlords and ask a few questions about their stay with the tenant.
  • Employment History: You’ll also want to contact their employer to verify that they have a steady, reliably income source.

Tip #3: Treat all tenants equally and fairly.

In other words, don’t discriminate against tenants: existing ones or those applying. All forms of tenant discrimination practices are illegal in all fifty states.

As per the Fair Housing Act, tenants are protected against discrimination based on 7 classes at the federal level. These are sex, color, religion, disability, race, familial status, and national origin.

Most states also have additional protected classes. In California, for instance, it’s illegal to discriminate based on things like age (40 and older), citizenship status, genetic information, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, political activities, medical condition, AIDS/HIV, gender identity, and military status.

Tip #4: Amp up your presence on social media.

Do you have a profile on top social media sites, like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram? If not, start now.

Social media is not only a great place to create a buzz about your vacant rentals, but it’s also a great place to keep in touch with current tenants.

You can share anything, from the latest news to property features that might impact existing tenants. Posting on a regular interval is key.

Tip #5: Start blogging.

Blogging is a great way to send some traffic to your property management website. Ideally, do so one to two times a week.

When writing content, make sure to use relevant keywords and mention your property every now and then.

The property management industry is a service industry. And being one, you need to understand the concept of hospitality. Basically, be the best property manager you can be, and dividends will start rolling in when you most need them.

 

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Renting Vs. Buying Your First Home: Pros and Cons

Are you looking to get your first home? Trying to decide between buying or renting it can be a difficult choice.

Depending on your circumstances, renting a home may seem more financially reasonable. However, it’s important to remember that owning a home comes with its own set of potential long-term gains.

In this article, OmniKey Realty goes over the advantages and disadvantages of renting vs buying your first home. We hope that by the end of this article you’ll have the practical knowledge to make a more informed and sound decision.

Advantages of Buying Your First Home

#1: Tax Benefits

Did you know that buying a home could give you considerable tax benefits? For instance, there is great potential for federal tax deductions. This means you could save money after itemizing your federal income taxes.

#2: Investment Potential

When you buy a home, there’s potential for you to become an investor. Over the years, you may want to explore the option of renting a part of your property to others.

Depending on your home’s location, you could even open an Airbnb-style holiday rental. In an area with high seasonal demand, this works exceptionally well. If this interests you, you can even consider renting out a single bed with a common kitchen. This could earn you a substantial income.

Disadvantages of Buying Your First Home

#1: Responsibilities

Homeowners have many obligations. When you own a home, there are no landlords who can take over the routine maintenance or handle property repairs. Dealing with emergencies and monthly upkeep would become entirely your responsibility.  Not to mention, these repairs and maintenance tasks cost money!

#2: Financial Risk

Every home purchase comes with an implicit financial risk. Even if the market conditions are great on the day you buy your home, you won’t be protected from the effects of a drop in property value.

When your home loses its appraised value, you are stuck with two choices:

  1. Sell your property: this would mean you lose money.
  2. Don’t sell your property: this would mean that you are the owner of an actively depreciating asset.

As you can see, neither option is great!

Advantage of Renting Your First Home

#1: Stress-Free Solution

When you rent your home, you have fewer responsibilities as the landlord takes care of most home-related tasks. Whenever you see that something needs urgent upkeep or repairs, you can promptly let your landlord know about the issue and it will be sorted out.

However, this doesn’t imply zero obligations. You are still responsible for damages due to negligence or accidents. As a tenant, you would need to pay for property damages and excessive wear and tear.

#2: Relocation

With renting, it’s fairly easy to relocate. If you must frequently relocate for work or enjoy moving around, renting is probably your best option. It’s more difficult to move when you own a home as you have to go through an entire process to try and sell it.

Although you might have to break a lease and incur the penalties, you still don’t have to face the challenges of relocating after buying your first home.

Disadvantages of Renting Your First Home

#1: Less Freedom

Most landlords have comprehensive rental agreements that include restrictive clauses. This means that you won’t have the freedom to set up your home as you please.

Here are some examples of common rental property restrictions:

  • There are no pets allowed.
  • There’s a limited number of people that can occupy the unit.
  • You can’t have a home business.
  • There is a limit on the number of overnight guests.
  • You are not allowed to sublet.

If any of these examples concern you, you may not enjoy renting a home.

#2: Lack of Long-Term Financial Benefits

When you own a home, you can get numerous payoffs such as equity, investment prospects, and tax benefits. However, as a tenant, you won’t enjoy any of these kinds of financial benefits.

In a nutshell: Renting Vs. Buying Your First Home

So, the question that remains is: should I rent or buy my first home?

As we’ve discussed, both options have their own advantages and disadvantages to consider.

As a renter, you will benefit as you will have fewer responsibilities and relative flexibility of a rental agreement. However, when it comes to investing and long-term gains, there’s no potential. Also, as a tenant, you don’t have much control as the property owner can make all the decisions.

If you choose to buy your home, you have much more freedom in being able to make it suit your needs. You also have a lot of potential to gain from the investment. That said, homeownership comes with a myriad of responsibilities and financial risks.

Now, it’s up to you to weight out the pros and cons and choose what is best for you!