4 Reasons to Invest in Real Estate

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Increasingly, Americans are making the choice to invest in real estate over stocks and bonds. In multiple studies, U.S. adults feel real estate is the best way to invest money not needed for more than 10 years. Here are the 4 most common reasons to invest in real estate.

4 Reasons to Invest in Real Estate

Immediate Cash Flow

Many people buy investment properties for the cash flow. If you are able to buy a property, fix it up, and then rent it out, you can be making back more than you spent in the mortgage/repairs. Investing in real estate for the cash flow allows you to receive a rent check at the end of each month that you can use/save as you wish.

Tax Breaks

One of the top reasons to invest in real estate is the tax breaks that come along. Real estate investments can come with tax deductions on mortgage interest, operating costs, property taxes, insurance, and depreciation. Not only will you be sending less money to the IRS, but you will be increasing your cash flow over time by doing so.

Equity

If you make it a priority to pay off your mortgage, the amount of your home that you actually own will increase quickly. Paying more toward your principal can help you speed up the process. Additionally, the faster you pay your home loan, the faster you build equity, even if your home is appreciating at a slow rate. When choosing the loan terms, go for a shorter loan period if possible. When it comes to building equity, a 15 year mortgage is better than a 30 year as you don’t have to pay interest for those extra 15 years.

Vacation Home

Many U.S. adults like to invest in real estate to have a place to vacation a couple weeks of the year. For example, if you are 10 years out from retiring and have selected San Diego to be the place you want to move, consider investing in real estate now, renting in out via lease or Airbnb, and vacation there when you want. Then in 10 years when you’re ready to make the move down there, you’ll already own a lot of the property. This allows you to enjoy the property now and later, plus you’ll have purchased the house in today’s market without the inflation of the next 10 years.

You may also like: The Advantages of Buying a Home Vs. Renting

6 Expenses That Might Surprise First Time Home Buyers

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While moving into a new home is an exciting time, first time home buyers are sometimes surprised of the expenses that come with moving. From property taxes, to homeowner’s insurance, here are 6 expenses that might surprise first time home buyers.

6 Expenses That Might Surprise First Time Home Buyers

Property Tax

Each home’s property tax is different. The property tax is based on the value of the home’s property and land. The property tax is determined by state and local government and usually includes things like city, county and school district taxes. As a first time homer buyer, be sure you look on Redfin at the bottom of the homes you desire and check out the estimated property taxes so you don’t find yourself surprised by the monthly property tax.

Home Maintenance

As a home owner, whether you’re a first time home buyer or not, you need to account for home maintenance expenses. If your furnace all of a sudden stops working in the middle of winter, you’re going to have to call out a professional to fix it which costs you money out of pocket. So make sure you’re prepared with enough savings to cover any home maintenance you need to take care of throughout the month.

Emergency Expenses

What happens when a neighborhood kid throws a baseball through your window? Are you prepared to cover the cost? The thing about emergencies is that you never know what going to happen or when. So it’s bets that you’re saving money each month to prepare for any emergencies.

Home Décor Budget

When moving into a new home, one of the first things you’ll want to do is to fill up the rooms with décor and furniture. Do you have the funds for this? Remember, a house isn’t built in a day. It’s ok to slowly build your house décor. Home décor is one of the most popular expenses that might surprise first time home buyers since it’s a cost they didn’t realize was important upon move in.

Utilities

When moving from an apartment to a house, the utility bill changes, and most likely increases. Before you move homes, be sure to call the utility providers that service the area in which you want to live. This way you will know how much money you’ll need to pay each month and set it aside.

Home Owner’s Insurance

Home owner’s insurance is required if you have a mortgage loan. Pay close attention is you live in a flood zone or if you live in an area prone to hurricanes. You may be required to have additional coverage. Home owner’s insurance is required for your safety and to keep you and your valuables protected. Home owner’s insurance is one of the top expenses that might surprise first time home buyers.

You also like: A Breakdown of Conventional vs. FHA Loans in King County.

Now Is The Time to Buy a Home in Pierce County

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Home ownership is a big pillar of the American Dream. A place to build equity and most importantly a place to call your own. Today there are many opportunities in the housing market to find a home that is right for you. But just like any living thing, market conditions can change, and these opportunities may not be around for long. Take a look at why now is the time to buy a home in Pierce County.

Now Is The Time to Buy a Home in Pierce County

Low Interest Rates

One of the most important reasons that now is the time to buy a home in Pierce County is the low interest rates. The low interest rates in today’s market are helping home buyers find affordable housing. When consumers pay less in interest, this gives them more to spend. This will result in a lower mortgage payment each month. Additionally, locking a rate in this year will secure that rate for the next 30 years, assuming you sign a 30-year loan.

Down Payment

While many lenders expect homebuyers to make at least a 20% down payment, with an FHA loan, you’re able to put down as little as 3.5% down. And with a USDA loan, there is no down payment requirement at all. This removes the large road block that stands in the way of many first time home buyers closing on their first home. This alone is helping first time home buyers understand why now is the time to buy in Pierce County. However, it is important to note that with loans that allow less than 20% down, mortgage insurance is required to be paid by the home buyer.

Built to Fit Lifestyle

With millennials always on the go, homes today are designed to accommodate their busy lifestyles. Homes such as urban condos, and single family homes feature open floor plans, flexible spaces, and low maintenance materials. With energy costs near the top of home buyer’s concerns, it’s good to know that homes that are built today can be more energy efficient. And in many area, prospective home buyers who wish to live in 55+ neighborhood, will find a large selection of homes tailored for the lifestyles of the baby boomers. These features among others make homes today more appealing than ever before and remain a top reason that now is the time to buy a home in Pierce County.

Inventory Levels Have Increased, A Bit

An inventory shortage has plagued the US housing market since 2015. This has forced some buyers to settle in homes that are simply not right for their lifestyle and may be out of their budget because they had limited options. New home construction has expanded, raising the inventory levels of houses giving home buyers more options when shopping for the right home.

Forced Savings

Buying a home is an investment. The great thing about buying now in Pierce County is that you’re able to build equity without evening thinking about it. The demand to live in Downtown Seattle is so high that the costs of homes are growing. So if you buy this year and decide to sell in 5 years, you’ll likely make over one hundred grand in equity. Many home buyers use this equity in future years as a down payment on a larger home, or to pay of personal debt.

You may also like: 5 First Time Home Buyer Mistakes in Pierce County.

5 DIY Backyard Projects to Get You Outside

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There’s nothing better than looking at a project and remembering all the memories associated with building it. Whether you want a quick morning project or are looking for a real statement piece in your backyard, check out these great DIY backyard projects and get building!

5 DIY Backyard Projects to Get You Outside

Build a patio

As much as you say you’re going to bring a chair from inside to your backyard and sit on the grass, the truth of the matter is that you’ll be more likely to do so with an actual patio or deck. With the convenience of pavers and stones, building a patio can be pretty simple. Once you lay down the landscape fabric to prevent weeds, you can simply place your stones where you’d like them. So sketch out your patio design, buy the landscape fabric and pavers that fit your design and get to building! For full instructions on how to build a patio, visit here.

Planter box

The great thing about planter boxes is that they can add so much color to your backyard without taking up room. This makes them one of the most common DIY backyard projects. With a 3 season planter box, you can use plastic containers or liners to keep moisture and dirt away from the wooden parts so it will survive the outdoors. You can line your yard with these boxes, or simply use them to brighten up a walkway. For full instructions on how to build this 3 season planter box, visit here.

Benches

Benches are a great way to incorporate seating while using minimal room. You can build a bench that’s attached to your deck, to add additional seating to your table, or you can build a bench attached to and arbor wall. The main function of these benches is to provide seating area using minimal room and resources. For full instructions on how to build a bench attached to your deck or arbor, visit here. 

Fire pit

Whether you’re hosting a cookout, campfire jam session or just taking in the stars, having a fire pit will be the highlight of your yard. Brick fire pits are the most common and require just a few materials: a garden rake, tape measure, wheelbarrow, sand, and wall stones. Fire pits are one of the most common DIY backyard projects. For full instructions on how to assemble a brick fire ring, visit here.

Grill gazebo

Summer barbecues are a popular thing, so if you want to impress your guests and provide additional seating, consider building a grill gazebo. This gazebo will cover your grill, provide shelves for grilling accessories, and act as a bar for your guests to grab a beverage. For full instructions, visit here.

You may also like: 6 Ways to Create a Home Office Space.

9 Signs the Bad Neighbor in Your Neighborhood Is You

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Being a bad neighbor can cost you friends and peace of mind, putting you at odds with people you see day in and day out, close to home. Make sure that none of these nine signs of being a bad neighbor apply to you.

“Be at war with your vices,
at peace with your neighbors,
and let every new year find you a better man.”
– Benjamin Franklin

#Neighbors #BadNeighbor #BenFranklinQuotes

9 Signs the Bad Neighbor is You

1 – Your Pet is Regularly on the Loose

You might think that your pet is the cat’s meow and the cutest little doggie in the window. Your neighbors might have another view altogether, especially if your pet is regularly on the loose in the neighborhood. A pet on the loose is likely to be relieving itself indiscriminately, could cause harm to someone else and may even put you on the wrong side of the law. You might be a bad neighbor if you aren’t keeping your furry friends in check.

2 – You’re Too Loud

Music, TV, setting off fireworks, having parties, hammering away, working power tools, running your lawn mower, blower or weed eater, yelling at your kids, your kids yelling at each other, fighting with your significant other – there are many scenarios where you could become the bad neighbor in your neighborhood simply by making too much noise. While some of these scenarios aren’t bad in and of themselves, they could become so when the decibel level gets too high.

3 – Your Welcome Sign Might as Well Say ‘Welcome to the Jungle’

Your home’s exterior says it all! Weeds, an overgrown lawn, unpruned trees and shrubbery could all put you into the bad neighbor category if your yard is an eyesore. If yardwork isn’t for you, check around to see whether anyone in the neighborhood would like to earn a few extra dollars to improve the look of your yard.

4 – You’re Overstepping

There’s a fine line between genuine concern and care and being intrusive or nosey. You don’t want to be the neighbor who is getting involved in matters that don’t concern them, gossiping about other people or pressing for information that’s none of your business. There are some topics you would be wise to avoid getting into with your neighbors:

  • Religion
  • Politics
  • Your sex life
  • Money and finances
  • Health problems or medical issues
  • Problems you’re having with your spouse, children, parents or in-laws
  • Problems you’re having with other people in the neighborhood
  • Gossip or personal information about people in your neighborhood

5 – You Make Yourself Too Comfortable

Just because a neighbor has asked you to check on their home or pet in the past doesn’t mean you’ve got carte blanche to come and go any time you want. Unless explicitly invited to do otherwise, always knock before entering your neighbor’s home, garaged or fenced in parts of their yard. Once invited in, be polite. Ask before helping yourself to food or drinks, or even using the facilities. Don’t assume that the master bedroom and bath are available to the public if the main bath or powder room are occupied.

6 – You Block the Path

When the leaves fall, rake them, bag them and dispose of them appropriately. Clear snow from your sidewalks, driveway, walkway and porch. Don’t let your kids leave bikes, trikes, big wheels and toys in areas where people must navigate to get around them.

And it’s not just about where people walk, it’s also about what they see! If you plant trees that are (or will be) tall, will you be affecting someone else’s view? How about the deck, addition, shed or other structure you want to build?

7 – You Ignore the Boundaries

Every property has boundaries. If you take liberties with the boundaries that abut your neighbor’s yards without their consent, chances are they will not be happy about what you’ve done. They say that “good fences make good neighbors,” but that’s not true if the fence is on the wrong side of the line. Before doing any fence or structure building or landscaping to the boundaries of your yard, make sure you know where they actually are!

8 – Parking Overflow

Most neighbors understand that if you’re hosting a holiday event or party that there will be parking overflow that spills out of your driveway and into the street.  But when that overflow occurs too frequently or your guests actually block sidewalks, access paths or the driveways of others, this is going to put you in the category of bad neighbor. Make sure your guests know where to park and respond quickly and politely if a neighbor contacts you asking for someone to move their vehicle. If your neighbors are inconvenienced, apologize. Send out a notice if you’re going to be having a big event – your neighbors are much more likely to overlook a small inconvenience if you’ve done them the courtesy of communicating ahead of time.

9 – No One Knows You

And you don’t know your neighbors, either. You can’t be a good neighbor if you haven’t taken the time to meet your neighbors. Introduce yourself, host a neighborhood get together or find another way to break the ice.

Don’t be the bad neighbor!  Most of this comes down to being the type of neighbor you’d like to have yourself.

 

What about you?  Do you have a “bad neighbor” story to share? Without naming names, leave your story in the comments below!