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Top 10 Property Management Tips for Landlords
Posted on Tue, 24 Nov 2015, 09:30:00 AM  in Home buying tips

Managing a rental property can cause numerous problems and legal issues. Among the most vital aspects of supervising rental property is to prevent problems before they occur. Understanding the basic duties a landlord owes tenants is one of the primary steps to ward off legal problems. The following tips will enable you to manage your rental units effectively.

1. Keep your rental income at par with the market

When interest rates, land taxes, and strata levies rise, it is the landlord that is left to shoulder the extra burden. It is only sensible and fair to make sure the income your property generates is at the market rate, and not significantly below.

2. Avoid expensive major repairs by taking care of minor repair items

Concerning repairs, spending some little money today can save you a lot of trouble in the future. Good quality properties attract great tenants, and the opposite is also true. A happy tenant is more likely to pay you well. But, if you don’t take care of the property, why should the tenant do so? Both you and your tenants have a mutual interest to care for the property.

3. Ensure you offer your vacant property at the current market price to avoid a costly and lengthy vacancy factor

Attempting to increase the rent by a small margin can cause you problems if the property sits vacant. It is better to have a paying tenant at a fair price than toolboxnothing at all.

4. Obtain advice from your accountant before you purchase an investment property

Make sure you seek financial advice before you enter the property investment market.

5. Ensure you have a landlord insurance

Your building insurance will not reimburse you in case your tenant defaults to pay rent, or damages your property with a cost that exceeds the bond. It is not a legal requirement to buy a Landlord Insurance Policy. However, it is recommended that you do it as soon as possible. The loss of a loved one, marriage breakdown, illness, or loss of a job can turn a model tenant into a defaulting tenant. Thus, it is always good to be well prepared.

6. Don’t get emotionally attached to your property

Treat your investment property as such. Some landlords make the mistake of treating it as if someone else is living in their home, and they get emotional about the property. Treat your investment as a “brick and mortar” savings account instead.

7. Do the appropriate checks on all prospective tenants during the application stage

Many of the defaulting tenants usually have a history of defaulting. It is better to have a longer vacancy than a non-paying tenant who abuses the property.

8. To avoid misunderstandings, maintain a professional relationship with your tenants

It is always vital to uphold a professional relationship with tenants to prevent any communication issues that may arise. Remember, they are the ones paying you, and you want to keep them paying their rent.

Hiring a professional property management agency can help you avoid the hassle of managing your investment property and ensure you get the most out of your investment.

10. Inform the tenant before entering the rental unit

All states have different laws about when it is permissible for a landlord to enter the rental unit, and these laws are based on the tenant’s right of privacy. Thus, you may only enter the unit for several specific reasons such as in the case of an emergency, to show the unit to prospective tenants, to inspect the unit, or make repairs. In all these instances, except during emergencies, you are required to provide at least a 24-hour notice. But, emergencies such as a water or gas leak override the notice requirement.

A rental property is a good investment that can generate for you a good income. However, you must manage it well. Keep the price right, repair minor hitches, get a landlord insurance cover, and do background checks on all prospective tenants. This will help ensure that you don’t bump into unexpected problems and legal issues in your property.

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Pros/Cons for renting out basement apartment
Tuesday, 10 November 2015, 10:05:00 AM
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While some basements are unfinished and have an almost creepy look, others are completely finished and have a bathroom in the space. When you have a basement that you rarely or seldom use, you might look into renting that space out to tenants in your area. The amount you make can range from $300 to more than $1,000 a month depending on the size of the apartment and the amenities you offer. Before listing your basement as a rental property, you should take a look at the pros and cons of renting your basement.

More Income

One of the biggest pros associated with renting out your basement is that you can make some additional income. You can use that money towards your mortgage to pay off your home loan faster, or you can use the rental income to build up your nest egg. As long as you choose the right tenant, you'll have a guaranteed source of income every month. If you charge a security deposit equal to one month's rent, you will also have money on hand to cover any damages that tenants might do to the space.

Lack of Privacy

While you may make some money off your basement apartment, you need to ask yourself if you can deal with the disruption it might have on your privacy. kitchenEven if you rent to a quiet individual, you may still hear some noises coming from the basement. If your basement does not have a separate entrance, you'll also find yourself dealing with someone who comes and goes through your home at all hours of the day and night. Making some simple changes to the space can prevent your tenants from disrupting your privacy and home life.

May Require Upgrades

Before you can rent your basement or turn that space into an apartment, you need to ensure that this is something you can do in your city. You will generally need to make some investments to bring the basement up to code. Most areas will not legally let you rent out your basement as a one bedroom apartment unless there are finished walls in place and unless the bedroom itself features a closet and at least one window. You may want to add some soundproofing materials to reduce the noises you hear, and you'll also need to add a bathroom and kitchen or some type of kitchenette. Tenants will usually pay more for a basement apartment that has a separate entrance that does not require they go through your house.

Finding Tenants

One disadvantage that some landlords find is with finding tenants for the property. Most landlords do some type of background check that looks into a tenant's criminal past and financial history. This helps you avoid renting to someone who committed multiple crimes or someone who has multiple evictions in the past. If you aren't sure how to do a background check yourself, you can hire a professional tenant screening company to check on anyone who wants to rent your apartment.

Use Wasted Space

When deciding what to do with your basement, ask yourself what you use that space for and how you actually use it. Do you only head downstairs to do laundry or put items in storage? Renting your basement lets you make use of that wasted space. You can even upgrade your basement to keep your laundry room or a storage area separate from your tenant's space. Looking at the clear benefits and some of the possible disadvantages can help you decide whether you should turn your basement into an income generating apartment within your home.

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Ways To Clean And Organize Your Garage To Maximize Space
Posted on Tue, 27 Oct 2015, 09:30:00 AM  in Home selling tips

Originally introduced as an outdoor storage option for cars and trucks, the garages of today often become catch all spaces for homeowners. If you're like most people, you probably use your garage to hold your landscaping tools, tools for working on your cars, out of season clothing, old toys and dozens of other things. You may even have a hard time finding space for your car or find that those items take over your garage and leave you parking in the driveway. As buyers looking at your home will want a clean and functional garage, you need to find a way to clean and organize that space.

Cleaning out Your Garage

Before you can make your garage more functional, you need to completely clear out your garage. Spend a long weekend taking everything out of your garage and placing it on your driveway or lawn. Use garbage bags or cardboard boxes as you go through those items. Decide what you absolutely must keep, what you can donate to local charities and what you want to sell online or at a yard sale. Divide the remaining items into boxes according to category, including lawn and garden tools, car parts and clothing.

Removing Stains

Once your garage is clear of clutter, you can look for stains on the walls and floors. If you work on your car inside your garage, you may find grease and oil cleaningstains on the floor. Etching products will eat through the surface of the concrete and leave behind a cleaner looking surface. You may consider working with professionals to stain or dye the concrete to create a better look too. Applying a new coat of paint to the walls can hide any signs of stains and also trap in strange odors to make the garage smell better.

Create Separate Sections

After you finish prepping the garage, it's time that you start thinking about where all your items will go. An easy way to do this is when you create separate sections for each type of belonging. You will likely want an area for all your automotive supplies, a separate area for the toys and things your kids use outside and another area for your lawn and garden tools. Building a clear division between each area can help you stay organized and shows you that everything has its own individual place.

Make Use of the Ceiling

Your ceiling is likely a wasted space in your garage, but you can easily find organizational tools designed to help you make use of that space. Overhead racks are perfect for storing the bikes and other outdoor equipment that your kids use every day and the equipment that you only use during the warmer months. You'll also find organizational racks designed to hold larger boxes that hang directly from the ceiling. These racks help free up some floor space to give you more room for the things you use and need more often.

Organizational Choices

There are literally hundreds of organizational options for organizing and storing items in your garage. Use an ordinary pegboard and some hooks to sort and organize your lawn and garden tools. Try tracing around the edges of each tool with a black marker to make finding the right spot for those tools easier. Stainless steel shelves that hang on the wall or stand on the floor are another great option. Many of these designs feature adjustable shelves that let you create customized shelving for all your belongings. Get the buyers who come through your home excited about your garage when you paint the walls, clean the floors and bring in new storage options.

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Current Mortgage Rates Favor Market Growth
Posted on Tue, 13 Oct 2015, 10:40:00 AM  in Home selling tips

Mortgage rates are the key to real estate sales trends in North America in 2015 and beyond. Investors gave a lot of attention to early year suggestions that US interest rates would rise as the US Federal Reserve carried through on its announced goal to raise the bank lending rate. The state of the economy was a precondition for a rate increase, and the Fed has monitored some of the leading indicators closely. The jobs reports, for example, have been productive but often just short of goals or expectations. The Federal Reserve has not raised rates and it continues to look for stronger signs that a rate increase would not slow growth.

Current Mortgage Rates Favor Market Growth

As the US housing market continues its recovery from the 2008 Great Recession and crash, the most notable trend is in the weaker markets. Improvement in weaker geographic markets means that the housing recovery is taking root. Price and volume from the leading markets can raise the average sale prices. Numbers can hide the soft parts of the market in the averages. A deep and enduring recovery lifts the soft markets too. Recovery that firms markets in under-performing areas are good news for sellers who can get better prices. Buyers benefit too, as he supply will increase as sales volumes tick upward.

Overall Economic Growth Draws Foreign Buyers

The North American real estate markets attract foreign investors. A significant part of the demand for housing in the United States comes from foreign investors.mortgageThey see stability and growth potential. North American cities have replaced many European and Asian locations as ideal places to invest. The emergence of the US and Canadian positions as leading sources of crude oil have affected growth in the real estate sector too. With the dramatic fall in oil prices due to increased North American production, consumers have more spending money. Every part of the real estate markets benefits from greater consumer spending including the rental housing sector,

Hot Spots Stay hot

Canadian hot spots like Vancouver and Toronto stay hot as do New York and Northern California in the US. Prices will continue to rise in the luxury sectors of the leading markets. This push comes in part from foreign investors who increasingly view North American real estate as a preferred investment. In some markets, like Manhattan and New York City, prices reach and exceed previous records. In some luxury sectors, the prices are among the highest anywhere. These high-demand markets have low supplies of available housing, and this supply-demand balance moves prices higher.

Future Prospects

The real estate markets can continue to grow based on the current interest rate trends and increasing demand. Local area information will reflect the differences between initial offering prices and final sale prices. Real estate professionals will continue to uncover bargains in the available housing stock and steer clients towards the best values and zones that show growth potential. The fact that prices may rise faster than incomes in North America is a factor to consider. There are also other sources of buyers including American and foreign investors.

How May I Contact You?

Please ask me your question by filling out this form. You will receive an answer to your question at the first opportunity I have to reply. I appreciate the time you have taken.

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Picking a Commercial Real Estate Broker
Posted on Thu, 01 Oct 2015, 03:02:40 PM  in My services

BrokerFrom acquiring land to leasing office space, the commercial real estate terrain can be quite tricky for one to navigate alone. One is required to consider many factors in the course of a transaction involving commercial real estate. This necessitates the expert guidance of a reputable and well versed broker.

With the growth of the real estate market, an equally growing pool of commercial real estate advisors has also emerged offering to broker that perfect deal for you. Picking the right commercial investment advisor to assist in the handling of your transaction plays a very important role. Foremost, it has huge implications on your bottom line.

Below are several characteristics to focus on as you look for a good commercial real estate broker:

The Broker’s Experience

As you interview potential real estate brokers, ensure you find out what percentage of the overall real estate transactions they have handled is represented by commercial deals. Search for a broker who works and specializes exclusively with real estate of a commercial nature. This is significant as it makes them very familiar with the intricacies of selling, leasing and marketing commercial properties.

When assessing if the broker is a true professional, find out if they got access to local area information, commercial property databases as well as the latest comparable date on leasing and sales transactions. This is pertinent information not only for the deal negotiations, but also for expediting that entire process.

Brokers who work with firms that are well established will in all likelihood possess proficiency in the commercial real estate arena. Besides, they will also be very adept in the kind of financial stability necessary to ensure your interests always remain at the fore of the transaction.

Innovative Marketing Plan

Does the investment broker have an innovative marketing plan that is specifically geared towards real estate of a commercial nature? The following guide questions could aid in establishing just how effective the broker’s marketing efforts are likely to be if you engage their services:

  • Do they subscribe to several different commercial real estate marketing platforms and real estate databases?
  • If you are selling property, on how many platforms or websites will your commercial property be published or exposed to?
  • Do they possess a cohesive, professional and brochure program?

Another important aspect is to find out if they share commissions and work with other agents. Do they seek to horde their listing in efforts at collecting bigger commissions from both sides? By adopting a collaborative and co-brokerage strategy, each of their listing receives greater exposure to potential buyers quickly. Naturally, this translates to better deals for you because of more competition.

Broker’s Training and Experience

In smaller markets, it is common for real estate commercial brokers to be dealing with all types of real estate transactions simply to survive and make a living. In several larger brokerages, however, each broker agent usually has a market area or speciality that they are better versed than anybody else in that industry.

As you interview your prospective brokers, ensure you pick a specialist to deal with your case. It may not actually cost you any more to engage a specialist (for they are also numerous), but it will for sure cost your bottom line if you don’t do it. You cannot compare a general practitioner with a specialist.

Final Verdict

It will be to your best interest to pick a firm or somebody who not only possesses local area information and expertise, but also one that can expose you to a national pool of investors, buyers and business owners. With growing popularity of commercial real estate among investors, ensure that you optimize on the full and expanding market. The greater demand will translate into better offers and guarantee a better bottom line.

How May I Contact You?

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Becoming a Landlord: Is It Right for You?
Thursday, 01 October 2015, 09:42:18 AM
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You glance across the street, and there you see it. A "For Sale" sign sits in the front yard of that house that's been empty for months, and it hits you. Depending on the price, that little house could be the perfect investment as rental property.†

You make some calls and sure enough, the house has gone into foreclosure, and the listing price is almost half the value of most of the homes in your neighborhood. Your pulse quickens as you imagine the possibilities. How hard could being a landlord be, especially when the rental is right across the street?

Before you go changing your business cards to read, "John Doe, Landlord," you might want to take a few minutes to consider everything that's involved in becoming a landlord. While it's true that there's definitely money to be made in the rental market, it's just as true that not everyone is cut out to be a landlord.

Being a landlord takes more than just ownership of an empty property. Although it may appear from the outside looking in as though landlords have it made in the shade, it's really not always that easy. Here are the top three things you must be before you ever think about becoming a landlord.

  1. You must be honest.†

When you're responsible for providing a quality dwelling for a family, it's an absolute landlordnecessity that you are trustworthy. Hiding dangerous problems like loose floorboards and faulty wiring won't just get you in legal trouble; it could cost the life or limb of one of your tenants or their children.

Not only is it vital that you make honesty a priority for your tenants' sakes; the other residents in the neighborhood are also counting on you to behave ethically. You must be willing to perform necessary background checks to ensure that you aren't introducing a tenant with a history of drug trafficking into the neighborhood. Is the potential renter a child molester or an ex-con? While you certainly shouldn't hold any animosity toward those who have made terrible choices, you do owe it to your neighbors - and to their children - to refrain from inviting a threat into the house across the street.

  1. You must be personable.†

If you've ever rented before, you know that a mean landlord isn't doing anyone a favor. Are you a people person, or do you fly off the handle pretty easily? If you won't be able to handle your temper if you notice that your renters are letting the grass grow for months or are neglecting the property, you should hold off from even thinking about becoming a landlord.

  1. You must be handy - or at least, you must be good friends with a trustworthy handyman.†

As the landlord, you will be responsible for keeping the property in good condition. Are you confident that you could get things fixed promptly if the AC quits in the heat of the summer, if the heating goes out in the dead of winter or the pipes burst? If you have a hard time keeping your own to-do list caught up, you might not want to add another property to your plate.

Along with these, it's also important that you know how to be both just and merciful. How will you handle it if a tenant becomes delinquent and you need to evict him? Will you have the gumption to turn him out? What if he becomes violent or destructive of your property? Do you know how to give grace to those down on their luck without becoming a doormat for renters with no intention of paying what they owe?

Becoming a landlord is not for the faint of heart. If you've had plenty of experience managing different types of people and you understand what you're getting yourself into, then chances are you could be a great landlord. If you're just looking for some easy money with little effort attached, you might want to ignore that "For Sale" sign and keep right on looking.

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An Analysis of the Londonís Real Estate Sector in 2015
Posted on Tue, 15 Sep 2015, 03:21:06 PM  in Home buying tips,  Home selling tips, etc.
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In recent years, the real estate sector has come under close scrutiny following the recent crises in the global mortgage sector and current international economic events. The real estate industry has a tendency of being particularly cyclical. It goes up or down based on existing economic trends in the country. However, this huge industry continues to generate revenue that runs into billions of dollars.†

The real estate industry is typically divided into two: commercial and residential services. However, it is not uncommon to find lots of management companies and brokerages engaging in both types of service. Additionally, the residential real estate component is quite fragmented.

Property management is a service sector that has been witnessing fast growth and this expansion is bound to continue. This because properties which were over constructed during the previous real estate boom are going to continue being in need of management for some time until they are totally sold.

Contributing Factors

The old and long held adage of “Location, location, location,” continues to hold sway in the London’s real estate industry. Of prime importance towards determining the value of property and its marketplace is location. There are several factors that control the quality and associated value of a location such as access by public transportation, availability of social amenities, the access roads and their quality. Other factors are security, income levels, and state of the surrounding economy.

The Real Estate Industry Key Playersforsale

This industry is basically made up of 3 primary fields: leasing, brokerages and management. It is the brokers who bring the buyers and the sellers together. They are the ones who assist in the negotiations about price and make the necessary arrangements from when a buyer initially shows interest in any property and the final closing. They also play diverse roles in property inspections and appraisals.

Industry Potential Obstacles

The real estate sector in London faces several potential obstacles. Some of the factors are at times beyond the business owner’s control. Such obstacles include local or national economic downturns and changes in the neighbourhood demographics where the property or agency is located. Another factor not within the control of the property or real estate agency is the build-up of houses and properties in the location, what they are used for, and what other properties are available in the same area.

Use of Technology in Real Estate Transactions

For many years to come, the use of modern and emerging technology will continue transforming the real estate field. This is because it is now enabling buyers to carry out online research for both location and properties as well as other local area information. A buyer can now gather all the needed information before making the first move. Such include viewing pictures of the property, getting information about facilities in the area, crime rates, and all manner of statistics.

Online marketing using property pictures and virtual tours are assuming greater significance for real estate brokers. It is estimated that in excess of 90% of buyers employ the internet before they decide to buy real estate.

Growth of Workforce

Industry experts project that the global industry workforce will continue expanding. They however note that the internet could arguably bring down the numbers and ultimately do away with the need for real estate brokers altogether sometime in the foreseeable future.

It’s worth noting that banks are also now representing a formidable potential competitor. Many economies are now allowing commercial banks to actively engage in the real estate sector, especially the commercial component of real estate.

Bottom Line

Despite turbulent and trying economic conditions being witnessed globally, real estate analysts remain confident about the future industry growth. This is one industry that always bounces back after every economic upheaval. People will always need offices, factories and residences. Apart from situations of total war, this one industry you can bank on as we head to 2016 and beyond.

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Remodeling Your Home For Sale
Monday, 31 August 2015, 10:11:56 AM

Your television or internet connection can ruin your home for you. It seems every time you turn the power on, you see another program in which real estate agents show clients stunningly staged homes or home improvement experts make over a house of horrors into a palatial mansion. These gorgeous photoshopped dwellings seem to be inhabited by people who never brush their teeth, cook dinner, or do laundry, but instead live a fantasy life in a world of bare counter tops and empty closets. When you think about updating or remodeling your home, don't be trapped by unrealistic media imagery or expectations. Instead, think about what works for your own personal budget, taste, and lifestyle. You want a home that is a great place to live, not just a set for a photo shoot. You also want good value for your money and resale value payback for your investment in remodeling.

Estimating Value

Home RenovationsBefore you start your remodel, investigate local area information on real estate prices. While many updates will increase the value of your home, you don't want to price your home out of the local market. No matter how nice your remodel, if you live in a neighbourhood where three-bedroom homes sell for an average of $250,000, updates which push the price of your three-bedroom home over $275,000 may not increase the home's value much but will make it very hard to sell. Ideally, a remodel should not only enhance your personal lifestyle but also improve a home just to the point where it can sell at the median price for a home in your neighbourhood.

Repairs First

The first step in remodeling your home is taking care of repairs. You don't want to install a luxury kitchen or exquisite wood floor over a structurally unsound foundation or beneath a leaking roof. Before your start your remodel, invest in an inspection and an energy audit to protect the value of your home. Even small details, such as replacing old, dried caulking and cleaning and repairing gutters can have a major impact on the value of your home.

Outside Matters

Increase the curb appeal of your home by updating landscaping, driveway, and the home exterior. One of the best home updates in terms of return on value is installing a new front entry door. This not only makes a great first impression, but can improve home security and energy efficiency as well.

The Point of Paint

You may not notice the way the interior paint of your house has grown tired and dingy over the years. If you have artwork on your walls, lift it up and you will see the contrast between old, tired paint, and pristine paint protected by the art. You can repaint individual rooms or the entire interior of your house, and either save money by doing it yourself or hire a contractor to restore a "new house" look to your home.

What's Underfoot

Replacing carpet or laminate with wood, tile, bamboo or other stylish flooring is one of the remodels most likely to increase your home's value. Tired older carpet is especially likely to trap allergens and odors, and should be a top must-go priority in a remodel.

Bathrooms and Kitchens

The two most common remodels are bathrooms and kitchens. Minor updates such as repainting walls, replacing grout and tile, and updating fixtures, cabinets, and counters can revitalize an older home, giving it a contemporary stylish flare. Replace older appliances with newer, energy efficient models to reduce utility costs as well as improving appearance.

Preparing your house for selling can be a daunting and overwhelming task whether you have lived in your home a few years or many. In preparing your house for selling you need to take a step back and have the mindset that this is no longer your home but your investment for your future. Contact Me if you need more help with getting your home ready for sale!

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