Author Archives: blackandcherryrealestate@gmail.com

HOUSE HUNTING DURING THE HOLIDAYS

If you’re house hunting over the holidays, you’re likely a serious buyer with an immediate need.  Perhaps you have to relocate for a new job opportunity, or there’s been a change in your personal life? Regardless, while you may assume it’s not an ideal time to be looking — namely because there isn’t much to look at — there are some advantages to buying this time of year. First and for most, there is less competition in the real estate market this time of year. This makes it easier for you to take your time while house hunting, and making it so that you do not go against multiple offers or go through a bidding war for a certain home in the Las Vegas area. During the warmer months, and especially in summer you can put an offer on a home that has only been on the market for 3 hours and there will be multiple offers on the home, in the winter it is so much slower making it easier to get into your dream home. More than likely, if someone is listing their home during the holiday seasons, it is because they desperately need to sell the home. Rather it is because they got a new job, and have to move fast, or if it is because they want to sell the home before next year’s taxes, there is typically always a reason on why the home owner is selling right in the middle of the Holiday Season. You will more than likely get a fast loan approval around the holiday season, with the lenders slowing down with less cliental they will be more available for you and your home loan. Some lenders might even be willing to reduce fees during the off-peak season in hopes of gaining your business. Regardless, don’t just go with the first lender who comes along. It pays to shop around. Get multiple quotes and check out lender reviews online before you go with the first one you find. HOME SELL VALUE GOES DOWN DURING THE HOLIDAYS; yes I said it. As we all know, the buying and selling market have been at an all time high, and seems like it is just going up and up, but studies show that homes go down in value more in December than any other month in the year, so when you are putting in offers on homes, you will not need to be as aggressive with the bidding wars as you would in the peak of the Summer. Buying a home seems like all fun and games, but do your research with EVERY aspect of the home, think about what agent you want to represent you, and what lender will have your back and give the best deal, then do research on the community you are looking in, not every home is worth what it is being sold for. There are thousands and I mean thousands of research pages online, and even getting an agent you trust will give you ALL the information on the properties you are looking at and purchasing will make this really go smoother.

THINGS YOUR SELLER SHOULD KNOW

When you are in the middle of a Las Vegas Real Estate transaction there are a few things that your buyer should know, but probably doesn’t know because they were not educated on them. Most of the time owners want to sell their home fast, and want it done their way; unfortunately that is not how the real estate market works here in Las Vegas. You don’t want to hurt your clients’ feelings. But undoubtedly there are a few things that pop up in the course of transactions that you wish sellers already knew, so that you could avoid having some awkward conversations with them. Start with the way the home is presented, the sellers décor is not always how the buyer would decorate so it makes it very hard for the buyer to picture their own furniture in the home; yes, your clients might have the home absolutely BEAUTIFUL, but when you are selling your home do not decorate like it is your home. Make it very modern and how a “show” home looks. Very open, clean and neutral. Clutter, in particular can make your home feel very crammed when the buyer walks in and it will instantly put a bad taste in their mouth. No I am not saying you need to go out and get you home staged but defiantly make sure your sellers know Less is More. Also another big thing that puts a bad taste in your buyers mouth is how the home is painted, if you have all sorts of bright colors on the wall like red, brown, and green that might push them to the NO side of the buy, having the home either painted white, or neutral colors will really open up the home and make it feel bigger. If you are the seller, do not be secretive with your agent. Sellers need to disclose even the small things that are wrong with the home, like leaky faucets. When your agent knows what is wrong, they came make sure it does not come back to bite you at the end of the transaction. Make sure your seller knows remodeling their home does not guarantee a price increase. While remodeling projects may enhance a property, the projects homeowners take on are never a guarantee of payback at resale. Of course if they redo flooring and kitchen, it will catch a buyer’s eye, but there is not for sure that your home value will increase as much as it cost to re-do those things. Make sure your seller is ready to fix some things in the home. Sellers may have to spend a little bit of time getting their house ready to be sold, things so simple that you have been living with for years can turn your buyers eye or make the deal fall through because “they thing your home needs a lot work” easy things like replacing the trim the dog scratched up, or power washing the driveway/garage and the back yard patio (if you have one), and even fixing a leaky sink that has caused a little damage to the drain. Having things that catch the buyers eye look pristine will really keep them interested in your Las Vegas home.

FINDING A BETTER RENTAL

Have you been renting for a while, and you want to upgrade into a better home but you do not know where to start looking? I am going to give you a couple of tips on how to make sure you secure a GREAT new rental. First and for most, start with what you are looking for in a new home. Knowing how many bed and bathrooms you require to live is a good place start, and then looks to see if you want a back yard or porch. Even if it things as little as you want a home that has no paint on the walls, or having the whole painted can make your search a lot easier. After you have wrote down what you are actually looking for in a home, set your budget accordingly. Do not start looking at home out of your price range that you would not be able to afford comfortably. Most places require you make about two times the monthly rent to qualify. Divide your pay in half, and start looking in that price range. You can look on multiple websites for properties in your price range and in your preferred neighborhood. After you have done a little research, set a plan to meet with a leasing agent to show you the properties. Here at Black and Cherry Real Estate, we have leasing agents that will show you, and help you apply for properties, free of cost to you as the renter. It makes looking for a rental simple and stress-free. Get out there and look at these properties, you never know if you will like the same house you loved online by just looking at the photographs. Once you go see the property ask as many questions as you can think of. You do not want to get stuck in a lease in home you do not like because you did not ask questions at the beginning. Ask if the owner is willing to paint, or replace carpet, or fix landscaping, and have the home deep cleaned. Ask about the deposits, how much they are and how they work. Next you will want to meet with the Property Manager/Landlord of the home. Pay attention to how fast they respond, how educated they answer your questions, and how they plan to manage the property! Ask them about the application and the lease process and see company’s rules and regulations and how things will work once you move into the home. Once you have ask the manager all those questions, and after you see how they are you will see if they are someone you want to rent from for a year or plus! When you are on your way to getting a new home, you will want to consider all of these tips. If you start to see red flags with the home before you move in, it might be time to look at a different property. Take your time, and do not rush into a home you are unsure about.

FALL DECORATING FOR LAS VEGAS 2017

Hey there. How is your September going? Can you believe it more than half over? I sure cannot. If you have put of decorating, like I have you are running out time to deck your house out for fall, not only are you running out of time but if you are anything like me you probably do not have hundreds of dollars to spend on seasonal decorating. Areas you should think about decorating in your home to bring fall to life is, a mantel, coffee table, front porch, and dining table. Start with things you already own; that is the best way to save money when you are budgeting. Do not go to the store and buy a bunch of things because when you come home you might not have enough room for everything or have a place for everything you just bought. Whatever you plan to decorate first, clear it completely off. For instance if you plan to decorate the mantel first, clear everything you have on it off; that includes your family pictures and plants and all the other things you have stored up there, start with a clean slate. Then get all the things you already own and things you want and start placing them on the mantel. You will notice
you truly do not need to buy a whole bunch of new things, maybe just one or two little things from the dollar section at target. Once you have everything out and you know what you actually need/want and you won’t over shop, start at thrift stores and the dollar tree. You would be surprised by how many knick-knacks you find at those stores that are cute, dainty, and just fill the empty spaces in your home. Some great things you can find at the thrift store are old picture frames, candle holders, old books, fake pumpkins, faux leaves and pine cones. When you are shopping around try and use natural elements to tie fall into your Las Vegas home. Keep an eye out for pumpkins, apples, squash, and fall plants like dried flowers, sticks, branches, leaves, acorns, and reclaimed wood. When you are looking around, try and get fake items that can be painted; even a banged up pumpkin with scratched paint can be repainted and put on shelves like it is brand new. While you are shopping around, keep in mind DIY projects you would like to do; thinks like home made painting, or printing your own pictures to put into frames, and something as simple as putting dried flowers into a mason jar will really compliment the oranges and yellows in your home and make it feel more rustic and fall-like. That is just the start of DIY projects you can do to your home in Las Vegas. Any trend that you love, I can almost guarantee there are 50+ DIY hacks you can find online to make it on a budget. So before you go out and spend hundreds of dollars on new decorations get online and look up things you can make right from your house, and decorate with the things you already have.

KEEPING YOUR TENANTS HAPPY

When you are working in property management, you will run into tenants who you would think are a picture perfect tenant; they never pay late, they rarely ever call with complaints, and they are just overall good tenants; but just when you think everything is going good, they surprise you by putting in their 30-day notice out of nowhere and you do not really know what you did “wrong” in a sense. Aside from it being very costly for you to turn a property back to move-in ready, these types of situations are very confusing; what even made your tenant leave? Tenants fail to renew their lease for a lot of reasons, but I am going to give a couple of the common reasons tenants do not stay in home they seemed very happy in. One of the main reasons a tenant will leave their home is their personal life might have shifted; maybe they got a new job and it is too far from their home, recently expanded their family, or maybe they are leaving this state to move closer to family and loved ones. There is nothing a landlord/Property Manager can do in this kind of situation, and it usually sneaks up on you with very little warning. Maybe you as the Property manager pay very little attention to detail, sometimes tenants get upset when they are dealing with repairs on the home and you as the property manager do not feel it is very urgent and it can wait over a couple of days, but too a tenant everything in their home is an emergency, rather it is the water heater that just busted, or something more simple like a toilet that is constantly running and hiking up their water bill. To a tenant both of those are very important and they should be looked at the same in their eyes. This brings me to my next point, lack of communication can put a nasty taste in the tenants mouth, when they call/email their property manager they expect a response in 24 hours no matter what the call is about, no news is good news but making the tenant feel like you actually care about them being in the home will keep them in it for a long time. Most of the time, property managers and landlords do not give their tenants a reason to trust them, they do not always feel like it is an open window for communication and they can talk to you about any problems they are having in the home. Tenants like to be treated with transparency, and open honestly. Lastly, sometimes it has absolutely nothing to do with the management of the home, sometimes it is the overall neighborhood, or the people that live in community. Maybe it is an older couple and there is too many kids, or too many dogs in the neighborhood, or maybe they are looking to downsize or even Up-size the living situation. The easiest way to not be blindsided with a 30 day notice is to keep the communication open with your tenants. Make sure they know they can talk to you about any problems with the home, and actually listen to them when they are talking to you.

SPICE UP YOUR FALL CLEANING

Let’s face it; cleaning your house at anytime of the year can seem like a drag. Why not spice up your cleaning? Here are some of my favorite things to clean this time of year, things that most of us forget. Deep clean all your pots and pans. By putting them in hot soapy water in the BATH TUB, yes I said it, the bath tub. Let them all soak for a few hours. We all have those pans that we never reach for, and over time they will collect dust, and if you are anything like me, you will not rinse this pan, you will just use it as if it freshly cleaned! You might think that they counter top spray you have deep cleans your home. But no, you spray and it wipes it right off. Try making a specific bottle with distilled vinegar, douse your counters and tables with this, let it sit for 30 minutes, wipe away, and then spray with whatever counter spray you have, and wipe again. This will leave your counters as clean as possible, they might smell like vinegar, but the smell will only last a few hours. Cleaning your over may seem like the last thing on your list, or at least it’s the last thing on mine. Spray a mixture of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide all over your oven, let sit for an hour, and wipe away with a microfiber clothe and watch all the spills in your oven come up easy and seamlessly! To remove those stubborn finger prints from your stainless steel appliances mix an equal mixture of rubbing alcohol and water, spray onto dirty areas, and wipe away with a microfiber cloth. We all hate those large dark stains on the carpet. To get those right up you will want to spray the tops of them with white shaving cream, and then blot. For crusty, dirty stains, spray the shaving cream on to the spot, and scrap of gently with a credit card, and then clean up with cool water. When cleaning the ashes out of the fireplace, sprinkle the used, wet coffee grounds onto the bottom, scoop up the entire mess. This with help collect all the ashes on the bottom, the damp coffee grounds with mix with the ashes making it easier to pick up! To keep your decorative towels fluffy and nice while you are washing them, add ¼ cup of white vinegar to the final rinse cycle, and avoid using fabric softener while washing these towel, the softener builds up and makes them less absorbent. To clean those pesky shower door tracks that create mold, douse your towel in cleaner, and wrap around the tip of a screw driver, and slide back in forth, that will get into the tight spots you might not be able to reach! These are just a few on the list for cleaning your Las Vegas property during the fall! Hope they worked for you, like they worked for me.

BUYING YOUR FIRST HOME

Have you been renting and you are thinking about taking the big leap on purchasing your first home? Most people start thinking about the basics of owning a home like being able to make modifications without getting permission from someone. When you are in the hype of the moment you do not think about little thing you will be responsible for, like fixing a broken AC or a leaking fridge. For many people, buying a home is still the marker of adulthood; it has been part of the American dream for a long time. It’s important to know your own personal financial situation and your own goals before making the leap from renting to owning a home. Buying a home in the Las Vegas area typically requires some money down and paying for closing cost, there is ways around this, but you will end up getting a high interest rate and no one wants that right?  With the market right now it is hard to keep your eye on a home you love, while trying to save for it. Houses are going on and off the market in less than 72 hours; so lenders are recommending people save money for a down payment before they even start looking because how fast properties are turning. Once you have gotten all your up-front costs out of the way, you will need to start thinking about your budget on how much you can realistically afford; most people just think about the mortgage they have to pay, but do not think about home owners insurance, property taxes, and other little expensive that come with owning your own home. Speaking of that home-loan term, one factor in deciding whether or not to buy a home is how sure you are that you want to stay in one place. Is your job secure? Do you like the town or city? Can you see yourself staying for the long term? You don’t necessarily have to live in the home for your entire mortgage term: You could rent out your home at some point or sell it. But what if you aren’t able to when you want to? Will you be OK staying where you are? It’s a good idea to at least think about how long you need to stay in that home to recoup those upfront costs you made. When you are purchasing a home, it is smart to also think about yourself; is this house going to push you further from your other goals like buying that boat you’ve always wanted, or stop you from putting extra money in your 401(k) for later in life; will buying this house use up all you emergency savings fund leaving you with nothing and having to start over? These are the types of questions you should be asking yourself when you are looking into buying your first home.  If you are sure one hundred percent that you are ready to buy your first home, do it. Nothing feels better than having something of your own that no one can take from you, or can claim for themselves.

BECOMING A FIRST TIME HOME BUYER

If you just bought your first home, or have been a home owner for a short period time you will notice that you run into some unexpected expenses;  things that could easily be prepared for but no one told you about. When you are just a renter in a home you are note used to paying yearly taxes on your home, but becoming a home owner that is something that will come up so being prepared for them will really keep you on track with budgeting your bills. If you have a mortgage, your lender will more than likely let you know an estimated amount of how much your taxes for you home will be each year. Your taxes typically stay the same but if for any reason your home value goes up a lot, your property taxes will also increase. Be prepared for your utilities to change as well, in some rentals you might be paying only a certain amount of utilities but when you own a home, every bill will have to be in your name. In some cases, you may have the option of shopping around for the most affordable service. A large area might have multiple internet providers or trash services. Get estimates for these bills when planning your home buying budget so you’re prepared for the future costs of maintaining a comfortable home. When you own a home you will be responsible to maintain every aspect of it, that includes roof repairs, HVAC repairs, and any upgrades to your home, including a garden in the backyard if you like those kind of DIY projects.  You may be able to do some of these tasks yourself or you might prefer to hire a professional. From power washing the siding to regularly treating the deck, you’ll need to budget for the supplies to handle it as a DIY job or the service fees to call in a pro. If you live in a neighborhood with an HOA do not forget about those fees on top of your mortgage; most Home Owner Associations range anywhere from 50$ a month to $500 a month. Looking into how much the HOA dues are in the community before you purchase your home can make a huge difference on home much you can afford in your monthly mortgage. When you become a home owner you will need to purchase Home Owners Insurance; this is a very good thing because if your home ever floods or catches on fire your insurance will come in handy. Seems like a pain at first but having this really saves your back in the long run; and yes I look at it like “would if my home never floods, that is wasted money every week” and my lender replied “but would if it does and you do not have insurance, you will have to come out of pocket for the repair costs” if you think of it that way you will run out and get insurance. Purchasing a Home Warranty on your property can also save you a lot of money; if you have one and your air conditioning unit goes out in the middle of summer, you can call them and pay a service fee which is typically under $100 and they will fix your unit and if it is unfixable they will replace it. A new HVAC unit cost anywhere up-to 5,000; when you are in the moment and purchasing your first home think about these unexpected expensive you will run into, and have them budgeted into your debt to income ratio so you can plan for your future budgeting.

MAKING YOUR TENANTS HAPPY

Have you ever sat down and actually thought about what your tenants want from your Las Vegas Property Management Company? Most people are thinking, how do you even bring that conversation up? You simply have to ask. It might be a little awkward at first, but I promise you will not regret it. Most tenants think their voices will not be heard, so they just don’t end up saying anything at all. Getting to know your tenants on a more personal level is one of the best ways to know what they actually want from your Real Estate Company! Not only can you talk to them in email, phone or in person, you could also do quarterly surveys for your tenants, so they feel more anonymous about letting you know how they actually feel. Most Property Managers think “why is resident retention so important?”  Is it big parts of running a smooth business because the better tenants you have in your properties, the more leases you will get renewed, and the more consistent money your company benefits from! Not only will your company benefit from that, you owners will be very happy also!  Your main focus in property management should be your owners, because the more you make your owners happy the more business you will receive. We all want a successful business with property management and being on a more personal level with all of your owners will make them want to stay, and will also make them want to bring you more business with referrals.  Losing owners will reduce the amount of homes you manage and the amount overall income you are bringing into your business. The best way to keep your properties filled with tenants is to make sure all of your residents are happy. Keeping them happy will keep them in house which will also keep both your owner and yourself happy! Now I am not saying do things that are unrealistic, or things you would not do for all the other tenants you are managing. Everything you are doing must be fair and legal, or you as a property manager could get into a lot of trouble. To avoid any risks, you as a property manager should be documenting everything and making sure that all tenants are receiving the same benefits. Even though as the Property Management Company you will not be able to approve all requests, and will have to speak to the owner, making sure both of your tenants and owners are happy with your company, is what is going to keep your business and could potentially bring more business to you or the company you are working for in the Las Vegas area. So as a property manager, or management company, Lets’ get out there and interact with both our owners and tenants on a more personal level and make sure they are having all their needs met. With that being said, I have attached an article that goes into more detail about this topic, so let’s read, learn, and interact together!

HOME IMPROVEMENTS FOR THE SUMMER

Thanks to summers long days and fair weather, home improvement projects are in full swing this year; hammers are banging, power tools are screaming and wood is being chopped. All over the Las Vegas area people spend their off days working on improving their home; and boy is that something we should all take advantage of. Home projects not only make your home look nicer/better it also give your family a chance to spend some quality time together; even having the children (not too young) learn how to build things will help them gain a sense of accomplishment. Even though it is a million degrees in Las Vegas area during summer- the best time for home improvements is now; especially outdoor ones. I am going to give you a couple easy-ish home improvements you can do that will get you off that couch and get you outside. Start somewhere simple, if you have not done a lot of your own renovating I do not recommend you go knocking walls done without a professional; start at square one and build a garden with your family. Kids who are old enough to dig a little would love not only plant their own veggies/flowers but also they will want to watch them grow too. Every day remind them they have to go outside and water them and give them plant food if necessary. If you already have a garden, make your outdoor areas more useful. If you haven’t already handled improvements to your existing patio, deck or pool, do these as soon as possible so you can enjoy them throughout the summer. At the very least, pay attention to how your family uses your outdoor areas this summer so you can make improvements by next summer. Little things like adding chairs and an outside table on your patio could make it so your family wants to hang outside and watch the kids play instead of watching from a window. Get out there and clean your garage; and yes I know this does not sound like the most summer fun thing you can do, but once you have started you will not want to stop. It is so easy to junk up a garage and as you are cleaning you would be surprised the amount of thing you have found that you forgot you even had; not only that but when you are done, you will feel so much better every time you see your garage you will want to keep it clean. If you have a front yard or back yard, lay a sod lawn down; having grass in your back yard is an essential for little kids in my opinion; sitting on the patio watching the kids do cart-wheels and summer salts will make you thankful you have it. Also, you can put a slip-n-slide on grass and who doesn’t love to play on a slip-in-slide right? If you have the room, install an above ground pool. With the heat in Las Vegas, having your kids play in pool all day will not only keep them occupied but will also give you a chance to get out in the sun, get a tan and spend some time with your kids. There are many more ways you can improve your Las Vegas home, and make it what I call “Vegas-Friendly.” Now get out there, get a tan, and spend some time with your kids. Happy Reading.