Quick Rental Fixer Uppers

Keeping your rental unit looking its best can be tricky. You want it to look great but also don’t want to spend a lot because it’s purpose is to bring you income and not the other way around. Fortunately, there are some low cost ways to ensure your rental looks modern and well groomed before your next potential renter tours their future abode.


 

The first place renters are going to see is the front door area such as the foyer or entryway. This area should be a large focus since it is what creates the first impression. Tile that matches the kitchen or vinyl is a clean refreshment to this area that will tie it together. The kitchen is also a main interest of buyers. You will want the cabinetry to be appealing. If they need a little love then an easy way to do this is to wipe on a little liquid scratch if they are in fairly good condition. If they are in need of loads of love, then cover them in contact paper or paneling. Once accomplished and they still don’t meet your satisfaction, replace the knobs with some cool trendy ones to finish the motif.


 

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The sink and faucet fixtures should be in good repair. Unable to replace them right now? Paint them. Yes, I said it. There are plenty of tutorials out there on your to paint your sink and fixtures, and not the terrible paint jobs like the painted tub in your college efficiency. I was a non-believer until my own mother, who is craftier in ways I will never be, painted her sink a dark gray and it was stunning. No one could even tell that she didn’t buy it like that.


 

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Light fixtures and ceiling fans are a cheap investment that can update a space. Choose fixtures that are all matching colors and finishes to be consistent throughout the rooms. Are your switch plates ugly? New switch plates and plugs can also achieve a fresh and subtle look. New trim can liven up your borders. Especially if you current trim is cracked or worn, it can make a house seem outdated and unkempt. Off white Mini-blinds are so boring. Change them out with wood blinds, curtains, or shades to go from disgust to upper crust in minutes.

There are plenty of ways to make an old space look new. All you have to do is think outside the toolbox.

 

 MelissaBarnett.com

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Helpful Hints to Real Estate Investing

Are you ready to invest in Real Estate? It can be overwhelming knowing where to begin or what the specific goals you have in mind are. You may have heard your neighbor talk about how their rental properties pay their mortgage and you want a piece of that pie. It sounds like the hot set up and it is. Though rentals can be hard work, they also are a great way to aid in your retirement or passive cash flow. Most millionaires in the United States started by real estate investing and own multiple properties. You can become a landlord, a flipper, or owner as well. “Property Owner” has such a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?


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Helpful hint #1: Do your research. Find out what kind of investor you want to become. Most people have in mind when looking to invest is to own the property, be a landlord and rent the unit out to a tenant. If this sounds too much to handle then there are investment groups that will give you the benefits of being a property owner without the hassle of managing and maintaining it. You would invest in one unit of a complex and the company will manage it all for you. Flipping is also a popular investment strategy. It is where a potentially livable house is bought and renovated in a short period of time to resell. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to have their own show on HGTV…


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Helpful Hint #2: Sweat the small stuff. Start small when investing such as a condo, small home, or duplex. It will be a better option for your checkbook and will give you a steady income to slowly build your empire of units. Once you feel comfortable with how the process works then you can move on to bigger and better buys.


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Helpful Hint #3: Know Your Market. Shop around and don’t settle. Identify what region you want to purchase in. It is recommended to buy in working class areas. Make sure it’s a good investment and a profitable area. Look into any restrictions that purchasing in that area may arise. Research is the key of successful rental ownership.

Don’t stop here. Go research your next rental before someone else does.

 

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Benefits of Buying

Renting is overrated. The money is being thrown into the wind while your landlord is rolling in your hard earned cash and paying off their mortgage while telling you they’ll get to that leak under the sink “soon.” I remember renting one year when I didn’t even see the landlord. I couldn’t tell you what they looked like. My dishwasher was broken and the maintenance man told us to not use our health hazard heater because it was outdated. Needless to say it was a cold winter and we moved out of there quickly as possible. Does this sound like a familiar situation? Then you may be ready to sail into the sea of ownership where you are the Captain and that ship is under your control.

Buying a home comes with certain freedoms. One of those freedoms is not having a landlord. You are able to paint, hang wall art, and landscape as you please without the risk of not getting a deposit back. There are no noise restrictions, pet deposits, or remodeling. Butters, the hound, can run and be free in his house without his human worrying about what the landlord will say about his accident on the carpet. Renting stifles this ability to truly make a space your own. A home is yours to customize into a beautiful space that mirrors your personality with no guilt.


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Taxes are a big stressor. Who doesn’t want a little relief when April comes around? Homeowners are offered several tax breaks. Some of those include Mortgage Interest, Tax and Penalty Free IRA, Home Improvements, Energy Credits, Home Equity Loans, and Real Estate Taxes. There is even a Home Office credit if you work from home. So many deductions, so little stress.

A homeowner’s net worth is 45 times that of an average renter. While rent is never recovered, mortgage payments build equity. It is an investment in the future by increasing an individual’s net worth. Not to mention it is cheaper to buy than rent. The average mortgage is lower than a rental payment and over time the interest portion of the mortgage payment decreases therefore the interest that you pay will be lower than a rental cost.


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Having a home in a neighborhood provides a sense of community. You know your neighbors. You know where your children will grow up and go to school. You know that you can walk your dog every night with a peace of mind. One doesn’t always get that when renting because you never know when the rent may be raised depending on your lease. You may not even be able to renew your lease when the time comes. Community is a sense of stability and security.

Free yourself of the waves of rent, buy your dream boat.

 


Come to our First Time Home Buyers Workshop if you would like to learn more on August 26th:

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Keep your Cool

You love blasting your AC. I know it. We all do. But then you get your paperless billing statement and want to hide it from your spouse because they might cry. You don’t want to see them cry. When they do you are not sure if you should comfort them or put on armor because war is coming. That’s why we have a few helpful pointers on how you and your significant other to keep your cool mentally and physically.


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A more inexpensive investment would be to purchase some blackout curtains. Most heat throughout the day comes in through windows creating a greenhouse effect in the home. Simple changes like having heavy curtains, shutters, and keeping blinds closed can lower your average home temperature by up to 20 degrees. If you are home during the day and need some natural light then just keep the westward and eastward windows covered which is where the sun hits hardest.


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The AC unit is the most abused, blamed and neglected appliance in our possession. To save from wanting go out and kick it, try cleaning it instead. Once upon a time, my family was miserable. We blamed the AC for not being big enough for the square footage in our house. My savvy uncle goes out to look at the unit. It was COVERED in thick pollen. I mean one would think we painted it yellow. No air was able to enter the unit thus unable to enter our home. We shop vacuumed the entire thing and, like magic, we had AC again. Dirty air filters just like two inches of pollen also prevent efficient air flow throughout the house. Changing the AC filters regularly and maintaining a debris free unit can be cost effective ways to ensure your family doesn’t have a meltdown.


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Maybe you’re doing all these things already and need a stronger tactic. Maybe your home is older and you haven’t made repairs on it since you bought it. A good start is to check the insulation. Insulation is the best defense to protecting a home’s temperature. Experts say if there are visible floor joints in the attic then it is time to replace the insulation. To begin you can get an energy audit. A professional will come out to inspect your home for air leaks, check your furnace and water heater to make sure it is working properly, and look for any insulation issues. From there you will have a better understanding of what you should address.

These are just a few of the numerous things you can start to prevent a heat stroke or mild heart attack at the sight of your energy costs. We are just looking out for your health and hospital bills.

 

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The new “Top Ten” that might turn off a home buyer!

1. Boldly Painted Walls

Decorators often tout black or another bold paint color as the perfect backdrop to metallic accessories or appliances in modern home design.

The reality is that people prefer the exterior and interior walls of a home to be neutral. Even though repainting is cheap and relatively easy to do, it’s still a pain and buyers might not want to bother.

When decorating, your best bet is to stick to an appeasing hue for the walls and use accessories to provide pops of color.

2. Wallpaper

Bold, graphic patterns increasingly are being incorporated into interior design, often in the form of wallpaper.

But wallpaper—even if it’s only on one wall—is an extremely personal choice and time-consuming to remove if it doesn’t appeal to the buyer

Consider replacing wallpaper with a neutral paint for broader appeal.

3. Lavish Light Fixtures

While potential buyers want rooms that seem airy and bright, beware of installing a showpiece light fixture that is too modern or ornate.

Fixtures should enhance your home—not steal the spotlight.

4. Gleaming Gold

Designers may be mixing silver and gold to give homes star quality, but it might be wise to change out fixtures if they have the wrong metallic sheen.

Gold can give a home an outdated, ’80s feel. Switching out the faucet and door handles with a more appealing finish—such as brushed nickel—is relatively inexpensive and can help make your home appear sleek rather than out of style.

5. Converted Garages

People want a covered parking space so that they have a safe place for their car—especially in areas where street parking is at a premium. Additionally, people often use their garage as storage space.

If you convert your garage into a space tailored your specific needs, such as a music practice room, it may not suit your potential buyers.

6. Converted Bedrooms

Like with the garage, people want rooms built for their original purpose.

If you’ve converted an unused bedroom to an office, walk-in closet, or a game room, make sure you can easily convert it back to a bedroom when you’re ready to sell.

7. Carpets

While designers love to play with the texture of shag carpeting as it feels soft underfoot, the majority of home buyers prefer hardwood floors.

People assume carpets trap dirt, germs and odors, and they don’t want to go through the hassle of steam cleaning their home before they can move in. Potential buyers also don’t want to spend time removing carpet to expose hardwood floors.

If someone really loves carpet, it’s much easier for them to add it themselves—after the purchase.

8. Too-Lush Landscaping

The “outdoor living room” is all the rage, and you may be tempted to build out your backyard into a lavish wilderness of flowers.

But potential buyers may be hesitant to buy a home with an overly landscaped property requiring a lot of maintenance.

Focus on creating or maintaining a nice and neat outdoor space that people can enjoy without too much fuss.

9. Pools and Hot Tubs

A pool may seem like a luxurious feature, but it can be a big turnoff for buyers.

Pools are perceived to be expensive to maintain and potential safety hazards, especially for families with children. Above-ground pools are eyesores and can leave a dead spot in the backyard.

These sentiments extend to hot tubs, too. Many people see hot tubs as breeding grounds for bacteria, and they are not a feature easily removed from the deck or back yard.

10. Fancy (or Not) Pet Products

Sales of pet products are expected to increase nearly $3 billion from last year, and there’s an increasing market for luxury pet items.

But even animal lovers don’t want to see another family’s pet paraphernalia in a potential home. Even if your home is immaculate, the presence of pet-related items will give the impression that it’s dirty.

Be sure to remove all traces of your pet—including toys, food dishes and photos—before listing your home for sale.

House hunting? Here are some tips from the tube!

1. Be optimistic

Two things that contestants on The Bachelorette have in common, besides an obsession with roses? They’re usually true romantics and eternal optimists, with a little bit of crazy risk-taker thrown in.

When you’re house hunting, make like Kaitlyn Bristowe. You’ve got to truly believe your happily ever after is out there — but not be afraid to test drive all the homes available to make sure you’re choosing the best fit for you.

2. Make it work

Those designers on Project Runway work it. They scour stores for the perrrrrrrfect materials and don’t settle until they find exactly what they’re looking for. (The ones who do settle for “good enough” are usually the ones who get booted off the show early, amirite?)

If you’re searching for a new home, take this tip to heart: Don’t settle. Remember that the right house for you is out there somewhere, even if you’ll have to tackle some DIY projects to make it work.

3. Be a survivor

The flashiest, priciest offer doesn’t always win the house. Sometimes, just like the underdog competitor in Survivor or The Amazing Race, it’s the offer waiting in the wings that proves patience and diligence can win out.

When you’re house hunting, remember that sometimes houses don’t appraise for the astronomical price resulting from a bidding war. Sometimes a buyer can’t secure a loan after all. With a little patience (and maybe a little luck), you’ll be waiting in the wings to collect your winnings.

4. Appearance isn’t everything

When a contestant walks onto the stage of America’s Got Talent, the judges have to be prepared for anything — because talent comes in all shapes and sizes.

Same goes for house hunting. It’s easy to be swayed by a pretty facade and fancy fixtures, but if the floor plan doesn’t work for you, or the yard is just too big for you to manage, you probably won’t be happy there. Keep your eyes and mind open so that you can make clear decisions based on the features that are right for you and not be swept away by the flashy features.

5. Remember that you’re “not here to make friends”

Hopefully, you’ve found a group of professionals you trust to help lead you through the home-buying process. But if, for example, your real estate agent consistently shows you properties that don’t meet your very clearly outlined criteria, or your home inspector isn’t able to answer all of your questions (or seems to be skimming over details), it might be time to start from scratch with someone new.

It’s understandable if you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings (and unlike in reality TV, there’s absolutely no need to be mean or rude), but ultimately you’re the one who will be making the mortgage payments or dealing with the problems your inspector didn’t turn up on that fixer upper.

Never feel guilty about asking for a second opinion, parting ways with an agent who doesn’t meet your needs, or requesting more time to discuss financing options with your mortgage broker. You’re not here to make friends … you’re here to find a house.

6. Keep your eye on the prize

Buying a home can be an emotional experience — after all, you’re making a huge investment, and that can bring anxiety and worries along for the ride. And when emotions are running high, there’s a much bigger opportunity for miscommunication or snarkiness to turn an already challenging situation into an impossible one.

But you’re also hopefully buying a home that you love, or that you want to turn into something wonderful, or that you might want to raise your kids in someday. And in any reality show competition — from Top Chef to So You Think You Can Dance — the people who come out on top are almost always the ones who can keep their cool under the most challenging circumstances.

So the next time your significant other gives you grief about spending a Saturday cozying up to a Project Runway marathon instead of hitting the open-house circuit, just let them know you’re learning how to “make it work” by studying the tactics of your favorite designers.

 

The Economy’s report card from 2015!

From The Wall Street Journal:

A surge in U.S. incomes last year delivered the first significant raise for the typical family after seven years of stagnant and declining earnings, the result of sustained job growth finally lifting a broad swath of American households.

The median household income—the level at which half are above and half are below—rose 5.2%, or $2,798, to $56,516, from a year earlier, after adjusting for inflation, the Census Bureau said Tuesday.

The increase was the largest annual gain recorded since the yearly survey of incomes began in 1967, though it didn’t fully close the gap left by last decade’s recessions. Median household incomes stood 1.6% shy of the 2007 level, before the last recession took its toll, and 2.4% below the all-time high reached in 1999.

The figures show how several years of robust employment growth, including 2.4 million people who gained full-time work last year, helped regain ground lost after an especially wrenching downturn, particularly for lower-income households. Longer hours, higher wages and lower inflation also have contributed to the improvement.

One question now is whether a sustained upturn is under way, or whether these gains are likely to peter out as the economy nears full employment, especially given a continuing slide in measured worker productivity.

“It has been a long slog from the depths of the Great Recession, but things are finally starting to improve for many American households,” said Chris Christopher Jr., an economist at IHS Global Insight, a research firm.

At the current pace, median household incomes could surpass their 2007 level next year, according to forecasts by IHS, concluding a lost decade for workers.

The official poverty rate in 2015 was 13.5%, down from 14.8% in 2014, the Census report said. That was still slightly higher than in 2008 and up from 11.3% in 2000. More than 43.1 million Americans were living in poverty last year. The poverty level was $24,257 for a family of four.

Meanwhile, the report showed fewer people lacked health insurance in 2015 than the previous year, largely because of expanded access through the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act. The Census Bureau found 29 million people, or 9.1% of Americans, lacked health insurance in 2015. That is down from 33 million people, or 10.4% of the population, in 2014. The uninsured rate has dropped significantly since 2008, when millions more Americans lacked coverage.

Democrats celebrated the report during a campaign season that has been marked by deep economic unease among voters in both parties.

BRAND NEW HOME by Tranquility Custom Homes

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Just Listed in Ingram Park Hill – 5804 N Sterling, Oklahoma City, OK 73122

Looking for a central location in a great area with something to keep everyone active? You found it! This home is tucked away just behind Dolese park where anyone can play on the baseball diamonds, fish in the lake or run around the track. Tons of updates and remodel done 2003. A few things remain for your personal touch. This home is perfect for entertaining with an open layout, huge living area finished with wood floors, Florida room on back and still plenty of back yard to spare. 4 spacious bedrooms, plus an additional living space perfect for a play room, office or game room. Large dining flows into kitchen where you will find newer appliances. Indoor utility room leads to an oversized 2 car garage with some built-ins for additional storage. Open house Sunday, July 31st 2-4pm. Make plans to see it & make it yours!

Just Listed in Thornhill – 19504 Talavera, Edmond, OK 73012

You can tell this was a builder’s personal home because this home has everything! True 4 bed plus study, perfect layout for entertaining with a wide open floor plan. Elegant dome ceiling in entry, wood floors in all main areas, carpet only in bedrooms. Top of the line granite, light fixtures & appliances including gas cooktop. Distressed painted island and vent hood along with the metallic backsplash allow the kitchen to pop. Huge master suite with walk in shower, jetted tub, impressive closet and private door onto the back patio. Study also has a private door onto a front porch nook. Huge covered front and back porches, full guttering, vaulted ceilings in living, tray ceiling in dining. Massive laundry room and pantry for tons more storage! Your home will be the talk of the family holidays! Schedule your showing today!