Should You Remodel Your Garage?
Sometimes homeowners may consider the option of converting their garage to living space in order to expand the living space of the home. Maybe the current homeowners don’t use their garage much, or mainly use it for storage and the cars are parked outside due to space limits in the garage. Or maybe there is not much extra land to build on to extend a house so the garage becomes an easy area which when converted can allow additions to a home. Depending where the house is located and how many garage spaces are available converting a garage to permanent living space can actually reduce the value of a home.
Garages Are Still Essential Feature Of A Home
Just like reducing the bedroom count or bathroom count for a home can reduce the value of a home so can removing garage space from a home. While converting the garage space could be adding square footage to the home that additional living space may not always offset the reduction in price. If a home has three or more garage spaces then converting one of the garage spaces into living space could be acceptable as most homeowners are expecting at least two garage spaces where it is common for the neighborhood. Of course if your home is in a neighborhood where almost every home has a three car garage the reduction of a garage space would likely reduce the value of your home.
When buyers are shopping for a home they will be comparing any home on sale to similar homes in the neighborhood. Homes with fewer features as compared to other homes in the neighborhood will generally be valued less. On the other hand if you are in a neighborhood where most homes have no garage, by...
How Driverless Cars Will Change Real Estate and The Homes We Live In
Driverless or autonomous vehicles are currently on the road today making multiple trips in certain test areas. While many of these cars are test vehicles and have a human driver sitting behind the wheel to take over in case a problem happens some of them are completely driverless. Companies like Uber, Apple, Google, Toyota, GM, Tesla and more are researching and investing in driverless car technology. Driverless cars will change the face of real estate as we know it and even the very home and neighborhoods we live in will be impacted by driverless vehicle technologies. This article explores some of the impact driverless vehicles will have on where we live and work.
Will We Even Need To Own A Car?
Just as many are learning to get by without a car by using public transportation and services like Lyft, Uber or Turo driverless cars will make it even less likely someone will need to own a car. A driverless car can be parked anywhere and can be ordered on demand at a moment’s notice. Yes it will take time for the car to arrive from where it is parked to the person requesting a ride but that time is easily accounted for by scheduling ahead of time when a car is needed just like done with Lyft and Uber. The person wanting a ride will not have to worry about getting a driver who is overly tired from driving all night. With a few clicks on a smartphone app a car can be at a person’s location and ready to take them where they want to go. Driverless cars can get people to the airport or to other central transit location points so one can hop on the subway to take them to work downtown. With...
Tips For Building Up An Emergency Fund
Whether you own a house or live in rented living space having an emergency fund is smart thing to do. An emergency fund is there to help you in case you encounter some unexpected expense. As a homeowner if your furnace goes out in the dead of winter you will need to have it fixed so you don’t freeze or don’t damage your house in the from frozen pipes later bursting and causing water damage. If windows to your home are damaged by a storm having the money to get those windows replaced are critical to keeping your house safe and secure. Even as someone living in a rented home while your furnace and broken windows should be covered by the owner of the home, other things like your car breaking down, major medical expenses (flu or injury) can quickly set your budget behind. This article provides tips for how anyone can build up an emergency fund so if something bad does happen you can financially weather the challenge.
How Much and Where To Save
At a minimum people should be saving at least three months of living expenses and on the maximum side of things saving up to 12 months of living expenses gives you enough of a cushion that you won’t feel very stressed if something major does happen like a job loss. Savings in your 401(k) and IRA accounts should not be counted towards this emergency fund. Certainly you may be able to take hardship withdrawals from your 401(k), withdraw with penalty from your traditional IRA or withdraw original contributions from your Roth IRA but that does not mean you should be doing so. Most of the money in the retirement accounts will likely be tied up in...
How Artificial Intelligence Will Change The Home
With Smart Home technology taking off and smart home assistants (like Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple Siri) becoming more prevalent in homes the start of a new home technology revolution is underway. Homeowners can monitor and control the house heating and cooling systems, security systems, door locks, garage doors and more all from where ever they have access to internet on their smartphone. Artificial intelligence (AI) will add to that ability by allowing decisions about the home to be made without the need of direct input from the homeowner. For instance a trusted dog walker walks up to the front door during their scheduled time to take Fido out for a walk. The dog walker’s face is seen via camera which an artificial intelligence assistant recognizes and knows they are there during the correct time and allows the door to be unlocked so Fido can enjoy some outdoor time while the homeowner is away. This article explores both the positive and negative impacts of artificial intelligence for the homeowner.
What Is Artificial Intelligence?
Intelligence is defined “…as the ability to perceive or infer information, and to retain it as knowledge to be applied towards adaptive behaviors within an environment or context.” Basically put it means using learned information in and around us to make choices. With regards to human behavior we make choices every day based on what we know. We decide to wake up early on work days because...
Predictions For The 2019 Real Estate Market
The real estate market has been on an upward trend for a number of years now. The stock market has also been on a bull market run for a record amount of time and based on recently volatility that upwards trend is being strongly challenged. With interest rates being raised by the Federal Reserve that has pushed mortgage rates up as well which in turn is putting pressure on home pricing. With higher interest rates the price of a home will need to be lower in order for buyers to afford the home at the same monthly payment or they will look for lower priced homes that meet their requirements. This article will look at the current real estate market trends and attempt to make some guesses for the future.
Today’s Real Estate Market
In many markets average home prices have reached or surpassed the prices that were in play prior to the 2007 real estate market crash. While some may argue that today’s market is more stable since the exotic no document loans or 125% mortgages are not present that does not mean a financial house of cards does not exist that could bring both the real estate market and the stock market crumbling down. Just as happened in the past mortgage lenders are reducing their lending standards in order to issue more mortgages and that is not a good thing.
Whereas in the immediate past there were higher requirements with regards to debt ratios versus income those have been relaxed allowing those with more debt to buy a...
Great Local Cincinnati Charities To Know About For #GivingTuesday
After Thanksgiving comes Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and then Cyber Monday. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are all about buying something at a discount or buying local in anticipation of the upcoming holidays of Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, Festivus and more. Another day for consideration is #GivingTuesday. With #GivingTuesday the idea is to contribute some money to a charity of your choosing so those who are in need can benefit as well from the holiday season. Being a personal fan of local charities I have compiled a number of local charities in this article that operate in both the Greater Cincinnati, Ohio area and Northern Kentucky. Take a look at the great things these local charities are doing and consider donating to them or becoming a volunteer.
La Soupe located at 4150 Round Bottom Road Cincinnati, OH 45244 and helps people get nutritious meals. Founded in 2014 by Chef Suzy DeYoung the goal of La Soupe is to repurpose excess food (that would otherwise be thrown out) to create tasty and nutritious soups and meals for those in need. Currently La Soupe rescues approximately 5000 pounds of food per week and with that is able to feed 2000 children in and around the Cincinnati area. La Soupe recently sent 23,000 pounds of food to assist with hurricane recovery efforts in Houston, Texas.
Not only does La Soupe give soup to those in need they also sell their soups to anyone wanting to buy their delicious soups. So in case you want to make...
Should You Transfer Your Real Estate Into An LLC?
An LLC or Limited Liability Company is a business structure similar to a corporate form like S Corporation found in many states that allows for a business owner to run a business and limit their liability exposure to just the business assets itself. If the business owner were to be sued for something that the business did then the business owner’s personal assets should be protected from the lawsuit if they were to lose the case. Where a business owner runs a business without an LLC, then they run the risk that if they are sued a court can use any and all of their assets to satisfy a lawsuit judgment. LLCs are commonly used by small business owners, are sometimes used by real estate owners and investors. This article explores whether it makes sense to have your real estate in an LLC.
How Is Real Estate Usually Owned?
All real estate is registered to the owners (can be individual, LLC, corporation, trust and more) name with a deed. The deed is generally put in the name of the buyers as the current owners of the property and recorded at the local government office where records of deeds are kept. In order to get the best protection, deeds should be registered with the local registrar/recorder but it is not a requirement to do so when purchasing real estate with cash. If the real estate is purchased with a loan the lender will require the purchaser to have the deed registered and recorded in their name with the local government in order to put everyone on notice that the property is subject to a mortgage lien. By providing notice of a mortgage liens lenders can be assured that the homeowner cannot...
What Is An Escrow Holdback?
During the final stages of buying or selling a home generally the homebuyer will be performing a final walkthough and the home sellers should be in the final stages of moving everything out of the house. If certain repairs were not completed prior to closing or maybe the seller has been slow in moving out there are options that can be used to help protect the homebuyer and make sure the home seller completes the requirements called for by the contract. One of the options a homebuyer may be able to use is called an escrow holdback. This article looks at the escrow holdback and some of the situations where it may make sense to use it.
Escrow Holdback Explained
An escrow holdback is simply money held from a real estate transaction in an escrow account. The escrow account used is usually owned by the title company since they are a neutral party to the transaction. So for instance a home is being purchased by homebuyers for $200,000 dollars. The home sellers owe $150,000 on the mortgage and are expecting to receive $40,000 directly back to them (after commissions and closing costs). So in a transaction without any escrow holdback the title company will transfer $150,000 of the total sale amount to the mortgage company who holds the mortgage on the property being sold and then will provide the remaining amount from the sale to the sellers.
If the sellers were not able to complete some agreed upon repairs prior to closing, have not fully moved out of the house yet or caused some damage to the home while moving out for which they have agreed to repair,...
Great #RealEstate People To Follow On Twitter
As much as some like to claim Twitter is no longer relevant compared to other social media platforms most active users know that is far from the truth. Twitter still has many active users with plenty of information to share. This list represents some of the top real estate related bloggers, social media experts and all around great people and companies to follow on Twitter. Not only are they sharing their own informative well written content they are sharing great real estate articles, tips and tricks from many different sources thus truly embracing the social nature of Twitter. If you are not following any of the accounts below be sure to add them to your feed and you won’t be disappointed!
1. Bill Gassett. One of the top 5 RE/MAX agents in MA for the last decade. Social media/SEO junkie. Maxrealestateexposure.com
2. Kevin Vitali. Tewksbury MA- Realtor. Serving the Merrimack Valley home buyers and sellers. MerrimackValleyRealEstate.com.
3. Chris & Karen Highland. Frederick MD Realtors, Agent/Owners with eXp Realty. FrederickRealEstateOnline.com
4. Michelle Gibson. Michelle...
4 Things That Can Sap Your Cash Flow And Your Wealth
There are a number of factors that can affect your cash and wealth position. One of the big things that can have a great impact on your cash and wealth is real estate. Real estate can both positively and negatively affect your ability to build wealth and can be a slow grind on your finances if you are not careful. It is your wealth that will sustain you when the economy is down and will keep growing when the economy is great. This article explores some of the major expenses that can quickly sap your cash flow and hurt your overall wealth position.
What Is Wealth And Cash Flow
Cash flow is a term often used in real estate investor circles to describe how much money a rental building is bringing in after all expenses have been paid. Cash flow for an individual is similar in that it is how much money are you saving at the end of the month after all bills have been paid. Wealth is the accumulation of resources including cash. So if you do have a positive cash flow at the end of the month overtime as you accumulate that cash (whether as plain old cash, investments in stocks, bonds, real estate or something else) you build wealth. Now keep in mind if you have more debts than you have cash or assets that does not necessarily mean you have much wealth. The type of debt is also a big factor. More credit card debt is not a good thing. Debt that was used to purchase investment real estate is not a bad thing so long as the cash flow from the real estate can keep up with all the expenses.
Things That Can Destroy Your Cash Flow And Wealth
Owning More Home Than You Can Afford
While the mortgage...
How Is The Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Real Estate Market Doing For Residential and Investment Properties?
The real estate market in general all over the United States has been experiencing gains with houses in and around many large cities selling at a quick pace once they hit the market. The Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky markets are no different and have been seeing rapid sales of homes in areas where demand is high. Residential and investment property have been seeing brisk sales and price gains over the past few years. Even with the increase in mortgage interest rates the market has not slowed down much.
Residential Real Estate In The Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Markets
The Greater Cincinnati, Ohio and Northern Kentucky markets generally go hand in hand with each other and many residents of Northern Kentucky commute daily into Cincinnati as well as vice versa. The south east portion of Indiana is also considered part of the Greater Cincinnati tri-state area and is connected to the region by the I-275 loop which goes through all three states. On the Indiana side homes tend to have more land available there and the area is not as densely populated as the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas are.
The Greater Cincinnati, Ohio consists of Hamilton, Clermont, Warren and Butler counties. In Northern Kentucky Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties are the northern most counties closest to Cincinnati. Due to more land availability new construction homes are more readily available in the Clermont, Warren and Butler counties as well as in Boone and Campbell counties. Hamilton and Kenton county being more established counties don’t...
What Sorts Of Environmental Issues Can Affect Your Home
When you own real estate you own a piece of land that really cannot be moved. As a result when certain environmental hazards present themselves it is not as easy as jumping in a car and driving off to avoid the hazard. Instead with land being locked in place it is subject to whatever happens to come by. As a result environmental issues can have a great impact on real estate affecting everything from its value to its livability. This article explores some common environmental issues that can affect real estate and what if anything can be done about it.
While most don’t think of air pollution as something that can affect land it can. Directly air pollution can affect the health of those living on the land and can affect vegetation on the land as well. If someone wanted to farm the land yet the air pollution resulted in chemicals being deposited on the land (think airborne soot or aerosolized droplets of chemicals that eventually settle on the ground) could have a huge impact on any animals or vegetation on the land used for farming. The quality of the soil and the health of any farms animals will slowly go down over time.
Unfortunately there is no cost effective way to avoid air pollution with regards to real estate. Humans could attempt to seal up their home air tight and install air filtration systems so that outdoor air pollution effects are minimized but the expense to do so would be quite high. Additionally the residents would be forced to confine themselves indoors almost 24 hours a day in order to...
How Real Estate Agents Should Be Representing Their Clients
Real estate representation can be one of those tricky things as many homebuyers and sellers do not understand how real estate agents are supposed to represent their clients. Real estate agents owe certain duties to their clients that are required under state laws as well as local and national ethics rules. These duties are meant to protect clients and give them the confidence that their best interest is being taken to account when the agent is carrying out tasks on behalf of their clients. This article explores what those duties are and provides some examples of agents upholding those duties for their clients.
Duties To A Client
The basic duties owed by a real estate agent, also known as fiduciary duty, to their client includes the duty of loyalty, confidentiality, obedience, candor/disclosure, reasonable care and diligence, and accounting. These duties are required through state laws and are also a part of the Canon of Ethics that every Realtor is bound to. Not every real estate agent is a Realtor and is not required to be. Those real estate agents who wish to use the title of Realtor must join a local Realtor association and join the National Association of Realtors. Some local boards and multiple listing systems (MLS) to which real estate agents can join in order to market their client’s real estate may be required to join the local and national Realtor association groups as part of membership requirements.
With the duty of loyalty the real estate agent is required to put their client’s interests before their own. If...
How Will The New Tax Changes Impact Cincinnati Real Estate?
The recent changes to the tax law will have an impact on Greater Cincinnati, Ohio and Northern Kentucky real estate and real estate in other areas as well. The law makes changes to the tax deductions homeowners and property investors can use. This article explores what the changes are and how they may impact real estate owners in general. As this covers the changes more generally it should not be relied upon for tax advice. Everyone’s tax situation when owning a home is different and for specific tax information related to your situation you should speak with a local tax professional for guidance on what works best for you.
Changes In Mortgage Interest Deduction
Prior to the change in the tax laws married homeowners filing jointly could deduct mortgage interest for mortgages up to one million dollars ($1,000,000.00) in value. A non-married individual or married filing separately could only claim mortgage interest deductions on a mortgage amount of no more than five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000.00). Any interest amounts paid above those limits were not deductible.
Under the new law the mortgage limit is now seven hundred fifty thousand dollars ($750,000.00) for married homeowners filing jointly and three hundred seventy five thousand dollars ($375,000.00) for single filers. Therefore if a married couple have a total mortgage amount in excess of $750,000 they can only deduct interest that goes up to the $750,000 limit. ...
Great Real Estate Blogs From 2017
With the increase in social media use and the sharing of videos, pictures, audio podcasts and more there is still something to be said for the written word. Whether the reader wants to read something on the bus while headed to work or is taking a quiet break to catchup on the news humans like to read to gain their knowledge. There is no rewinding or fast forwarding to get to the good part of an article. It is all just there for the reader to absorb. Hence I put together this list of great real estate blog articles from 2017 that are must reads for the homebuyer, home seller, home owner and more. Not only are the articles great but the bloggers who wrote the articles also know quite a bit about real estate and are happy to share their thoughts with readers. Check out all the articles in the post below and be sure to read the other great articles from the bloggers mentioned here.
Do You Know What Dual Agency Is?
One of the best blogs of 2017 was Bill Gassett’s article on dual agency. For those who are not familiar with the term, dual agency in real estate is when one agent represents both the buyer and seller in a transaction. Frankly, dual agency is one of the worst things possible for consumers. The only person who benefits from dual agency is the real estate agent who makes a double commission. Whether you are a buyer or a seller when you agree to dual agency you lose the person you hired to represent you!
Here is an example. You hire the best agent in town to sell your home for you. Your confidence is real high in hiring this agent because they are extremely knowledgeable and know they will have...
Relocating to Cincinnati, Ohio? 14 Reasons You’ll Love It!!!
Planning on relocating to Cincinnati, OH? Here are some reasons why you will love the Greater Cincinnati Area which encompasses parts of Indiana, Ohio and Northern Kentucky. You can travel between the three states and still be close to your home. Cincinnati has lots to offer for anyone looking to relocated here, where you want hip uptown living, suburban neighborhoods or rural living. Be sure to check out the Cincinnati Life Facebook group to get up to date information and check out the wide range of homes for sale in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
Cincinnati has a vibrant community with plenty of places to go, meet and be social. Whether you want to join a local club, attend classes to enhance your knowledge, attend the theater, or more you are bound to find someone with mutual interests. The different neighborhoods in Cincinnati have a lot of different options to offer. Whether you want the Downtown Cincinnati feel, the Over The Rhine hip place to be, or prefer a more relaxed living in neighborhoods like Anderson, Delhi, Alexandria, Florence or more Greater Cincinnati has what you are looking for.
2. Cincinnati Is A Food Lovers Paradise
For the past few years a number of Cincinnati eating establishments have been ranking pretty high in the nation. In fact ...
How Residential Real Estate Differs From Commercial Real Estate Transactions
When people hear the term real estate it is often meant to cover broadly real estate in general. Basically the land and anything attached to the land like a building, home, factory, warehouse or something else. Within the real estate world itself residential and commercial real estate are generally looked at differently. Frequently agents specialize in residential or in commercial real estate since the way each are sold can be quite different. Residential real estate often has many more federal, state and local laws and regulations that govern the transaction whereas commercial real estate usually does not have as many restrictions. This article takes a look at some of the differences in residential and commercial real estate.
Financing Differences Between Residential and Commercial Real Estate
One of the big differences encountered in commercial versus residential real estate is that with residential real estate there are a number of government programs and loans that allow buyers to purchase residential real estate for low to zero money down and have low interest rates. With credit scores as low as 580-600 in some cases homebuyers can buy a home with little money down with a 30 year fixed rate mortgage. With commercial real estate on the other hand buyer’s credit scores are closely looked at and lenders want to see strong credit as well as sufficient assets to protect in case of default on the loan. Commercial lenders do not have the same government loan programs and instead will offer loans with high interest rates and shorter terms (15-20 year loans sometimes with a balloon ...
What Is A Tiny Home?
You may have heard of the Tiny Home movement and been curious about what exactly is a tiny home and why would anyone want one. A tiny home generally is a home that is generally under 500 square feet. Tiny homes contain all the features of a regular home including bathroom, kitchen, dining and sleeping areas. Tiny homes are generally designed to be energy efficient and usually built with green materials. One of the goal of the tiny home movement is to reduce the environmental impact of housing both in terms of the actual building of the home as well as through reduced energy consumption while the home is in use.
Not only is money saved through energy efficiency but the total overall cost of the tiny home can be much lower than that of a traditional house. The average cost of a tiny house can start at $5000.00 and go up to $70,000.00 which is much cheaper than the average suburban home. At the lower end of the pricing scale many may not even need a mortgage, whereas at the higher end a mortgage may be desired.
Tiny homes are generally built to last as long as a traditional home would. Some tiny home owners have built the homes themselves using kits that contain most everything needed to assemble the basic home. Additionally tiny homes builders and developers are working to put tiny homes on wheels so they are more mobile.
Tiny Homes and Zoning
Since tiny homes is a relatively new movement in relation to the current housing market many cities and municipalities may not have the proper zoning laws...
A Look Back At Some Of The Great Real Estate Articles From 2016
The year 2016 saw many real estate related articles published with the intent of informing readers about various issues in the real estate area. Some articles while trying to be informative may miss the mark and instead up trying to sell something rather than inform. Many other articles though succeed in informing readers so that they have the latest and greatest knowledge needed to help them with their real estate. In this article I highlight some of those great articles from 2016 and hope you enjoy them as much as many others did.
best Articles from 2016 for home sellers
Best Way To Remove Wallpaper
One of my favorite articles from 2016 was a very helpful post from Bill Gassett, one of the top real estate agents in Southborough Mass. One of the things Realtors are constantly doing for their clients is recommending improvements that can be made that either help the salability of a home or bring more money. One of the features that impacts the sale of a home in a negative way more than any other is wallpaper. Unfortunately, wallpaper dates a home! It is a very personal choice that is almost always a love or hate thing. Far more often, however, people hate wallpaper. A good real estate agent should be able to communicate this effectively to their clients. Those...
Real Estate Zoning Laws
Zoning laws are the rules and regulations set by local government to control what types of buildings (residential, commercial, industrial, retail) can be built and where. In order to keep some uniformity and consistency many governments restrict areas so that they are only residential, commercial or industrial in order to avoid conflicts between the different land uses and in order to better provide for allocation of services like utilities, roads, police and fire functions. For instance an industrial plastics factory being built right next to a residential area can cause problems with the people living in those homes since the smell of plastic could affect their property value and quality of living. Additionally a high density residential area will require more services in terms of utilities and roads than an industrial area where there are a few large buildings but with fewer people present.
By controlling land use through zoning governments can ensure property values remain consistent, making a city or town more appealing for existing and new residents. By having uniform sections where only one type of zoning use can be put into place the government ensures a new farm or industrial factory won’t setup next door to nice homes and chase away the residents. Stable property values also leads to a stable tax base which the government can use for more consistent planning of city services and functions. Not only does uniform zoning benefit residential areas it also benefits commercial retail establishments located in one area by helping to shape traffic flows through road construction. Retail centers can be put into places where the streets and roads can handle heavier vehicle traffic versus having lighter use roads in residential areas.