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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.

KEEPING YOUR SECURITY DEPOSIT AS A RENTER

Everyone who lives in a home wants to make it their own; even renters. Living in house with none of your personality will feel more like a prison not a home. When you are renting typically there are something you can do to spice up your house, but there is also something that will get your security deposit taken. First thing you should avoid without approval is painting your home. Yes, no one wants to live in a home with white walls, but painting crazy colors are a pain to cover up and will more than likely leave you being charged for them at the end of your lease term. Most property management companies will approve you as the tenant to paint the home with a neutral color; with that though, comes a professional painter and over priced paint. Easiest way around that is too find a home that is already painted, or if you are like me; get a home with white walls and decorate them with colorful décor. With that being said, you want to try and avoid putting a bunch of holes in the walls with tacks, nails, and large screws (like mounting a television). There are many options out there for a hole-free hang that you can use. Not only will hanging things in your home damage your walls, you as the renter will have to fill the holes and do touch up paint in the home which will cost a lot more than just getting wall putty for your portraits. The next one is hard to avoid, but try to if you can; do not hang curtains in your home. Just like hanging photos in your home, hanging curtains is almost worse because the nails are larger and they usually need to be anchored which causes a large hole in the wall. Try to avoid mounting your television. Getting a television stand, or some kind of dresser to avoid drilling large holes into the studs on your wall which are hard to patch; not only will that prevent holes in the walls, it will also prevent your flat screen from falling off the wall (which happens often if it is not put up correctly). Moving out side, avoid planting anything in your yard that is not in a pot you can take with you when you leave. Home owners who rent their houses try and have the home with at least upkeep as possible, and if you leave behind a garden or new bushes, the owner will have to keep up with them or will have to pay to have them removed. All of these of course are not a make or break when it comes to your deposit, but leaving the home in the exact condition it was given to you will give the owner no reason to take your deposit. If they have a reason, they by law can you take your deposit to put them home back into the condition it was in when you got it, and trust me; all owners want the home to be re-rentable, so try to make as least modifications as possible on your Las Vegas rental.

RAISING YOUR MILLENNIAL CLIENTELE

It is hard now a day for millennial to purchase their first home in the Las Vegas area.  The troubles they are having are; they are buried in student debt, working lower paying jobs, and would rather spend their extra cash traveling and vacationing instead of saving for a down payment on a home. It is no secret that when it comes to transitioning into homeownership, millennials have procrastinated compared to the past generations. They spend most days working a low paid job while trying to pay off their student debt and think the only option they have for a home is to rent it; but in this blog I am going to give you a couple of ways you can help transition their thinking and assist them in buying their first home; this trend has slowly been turning around. With the oldest millennials turning 37 this year, more and more in this age group are looking to purchase their first home. Millennials rank as the generation most likely to purchase a home in 2017, making up 34 percent of the pool of home buyers, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Real estate investors lending restrictions are extremely tight for first-time buyers; a good credit scare has become a 760 instead of a 720 and in some cases, a buyer needs a score of at least 780 to get a lender’s best rate. While millennials may have passed a credit check to score a lease in a tight rental market, their credit score will now be more relevant than ever for securing a loan for a home purchase. If a buyer has less than stellar credit, consider offering him or her these options to improve their score before speaking with a lender. Potential home buyers should be actively use their high limit credit cards so the bank does not shut them down, or so that they do not get a hit on their credit for non-sufficient activity. Your clients should also try and get their credit cards below 50% every month so it is not negatively affecting their score; they can use them all month but paying back 50% of what they used is what is going to make their credit score go higher. Also when you are telling your client about their down payment, being realistic with them and how much money they make is what is going to keep them as a client. A lot of millennials get scared when they think they are going to tack on another loan they cannot afford, or when they think about all the things they will have to pay for when they buy their first home. All in all, slowly but surely millennials are the main people who will be buying homes in 2017, how you approach them is going to be your biggest struggle because most of them are not ready purchase a home. Thinking of simple by effect ways to get them to purchase a home is something that is going to be up to you as the agent.

A BUYERS MARKET

Each year, it seems the housing market takes on a different tone — and whether it’s going to be a sellers’ market with inflated prices and bidding wars, or a buyers’ market with tons of choices and low prices — there’s no denying that the 2017 housing season is upon us. So what does it have in store? Well, if you’re thinking of listing your home, that’s an important question. Right now is a great time to sell your Las Vegas home because it is a buyer’s market. All over the valley buyers and investors are buying houses like it is going out of style. Buyers are searching high and low for the best homes with the best deals all over the market. Some buyers are even willing to buy a fixer-upper and make it the home that they want it. But do not forget about all the investors out there who are coming in, buying homes for less than market value, so they can flip them and re-sell them. Learn the average percentages; 60 percent of homes in the Las Vegas area will be bought and sold in the months of May to August.; according most real estate blogs.  Putting your home on the market in June and July will most likely get you a buyer the fastest because people want to move before school starts at the end of August. No one wants to be moving and unpacking while taking their kiddies to school and battling work on top of that will take you weeks to complete. Trying to get a jump on the competition? Right now we’re on the cusp of prime selling and buying season, and if you list soon, you’ll have less competition than you would if you put your house on the market in May or June, when more homes will flood the market. Since it’s still early, your home can have its ‘moment in the spotlight’ more than it will when inventory increases – and the buyers who are braving the cold to house shop are clearly motivated. Make your listing POP right off the computer, or smart phone, since that is this generations main line of communication.. With homes flying on and off the market lately, having something that is easy to appeal a full time dad and mom where they can look anywhere really will be an advantage to you as the seller. Great homes with mediocre quality photos will be quickly discarded and ultimately get less showings. Sellers should insist that their agent take the time to beef up their online listing so the quality of the home jumps off the screen and gets buyers’ attention. All in all, this Is a buyer’s market right now and homes are flying off the shelves, so making your listing standing out is one way you can have your home close fast. Also do not forget when getting your home photographed, homes that are still furnished catch a buyers eye quicker, because it will give the buyer an idea on how furniture can be placed in the home.

IS HIRING A MOVING COMPANY SMART?

Moving is such a fun thought; you get to re-decorate, maybe have new roommates, and even sometimes get new furniture. When people are moving they are more than likely moving because they want to. Maybe because you want to be closer to your job, or a certain school, or even just want to get away from the neighborhood you have been living in for ten years. The last thing people are thinking about when they go to move is the actual MOVING part. Yes it is fun to go house hunting, but when you find the house you love and you sign your lease and are all ready to move, how are you going to get all your stuff from one house to another? Most people laugh at the idea of getting a moving company because they have the thought that hiring one is too expensive. In reality, hiring a moving company is not nearly as expensive as it seems; in fact, if you compare your driving back and forth for 3 days and taking multiple trips in multiple cars, it really does equal out to be not only as much in gas, but also less of a headache. When you hire a moving company they will typically make your move smooth and trouble-free, plus if you are single and you do not have help; a moving company will take your furniture from one home and place INSIDE the next home, come on how easy does that sound? We are going to talk about a few reasons why hiring a moving company is smart; think about your time to start off with. You will have to pack all your belongings, load them into a car/truck, drive them all the way to your new address, unload them, and place them in the designated place. Keep in mind you will need someone (or several people) to help during this process. Moving requires you to put in so much effort that you may neglect other responsibilities, like switching over your gas, electric and internet accounts a few days before and taking a picture of your meters before you move. You don’t want to end up paying for the new tenants usage or get into your new home with no water or electricity. By hiring a moving company who is trained at handling the actual moving tasks like transportation logistics loading and unloading, you’re free to concentrate on the important tasks only you can handle. When moving on your own, you may have to rent a truck, purchase equipment to lift heavy objects, and hire help to pack and load your belongings. Ultimately, their combined costs may be more than what a moving company would charge you for the entire package. If you were to move yourself, it would probably take twice as long and could cost you more than what hiring a moving company would. Different moving companies have different rates and offer different services, so comparing moving companies, prices, and reviews could save you a lot of money. It is also important to verify that the moving company you plan to hire is licensed and insured so you’ll be covered in case something happens. When you put all of that into perspective, you can see that hiring a company truly is worth it in the end, even though it seems like a lot at first, it ends up being around the same cost, with ten times less of the head ache; but do not forget to do your research before you hire just any company off the internet.

SUMMER TIME HVAC MAINTENANCE

With the heat that has come and taken over the Las Vegas area it is very important that you make sure you HVAC unit are well maintained from the winter. Most ac units decided to start having problems when you need them the most and this summer is no exception. With the heat being over a hundred most days now, I am going to give a couple of tips to ensure your unit stays working well this summer. Having a licensed HVAC tech come out and do an annual check up on your unit will do nothing but benefit you. They can spot a problem before it even starts and fix it before your entire unit crashes. When you call an AC man, please make sure they start by looking for refrigerant leaks.  You’ve likely heard of it referred to as “Freon” but this is a brand name for a specific type of refrigerant. Many people think that a system simply needs more “Freon” when it loses its charge, but the fact is that this does nothing to solve the problem. When refrigerant leaks, it means something is wrong. Since refrigerant is such an important part of an AC system, it is designed to stay within the system throughout its life; and leaky refrigerant lines require sealing. When refrigerant leaks, your home is not as cool, which is most noticeable in the hottest months. Technicians can check on your refrigerant line during a spring maintenance check so you can get those repairs ahead of time and save yourself the headache. Also make sure your vendor is cleaning out the condensate lines. This is one you will most likely want to avoid; having clogged lines can cause water to back up in your home which will cause bigger problems down the line. This is included in most annual checks, but make sure you are confirming with your vendor a head of time. During your annual check, make sure your vendor is changing your fan belt, even when it is not broken having it changed a head of time will save you the headache down the line of having no AC over a small part that could have been fixed for very little cost. After you have your vendor come out and check all of those small details on your HVAC unit make sure they are also checking the overall unit. Having them accidently over look things like replacing a system component can cause you a lot of expensive repairs down the line. It is always better to replace a couple hundred dollar part, then having to buy a brand new unit which will be thousands of dollars for the home owner. There is nothing wrong with getting an annual check on your unit and having no problems with it; but there is going to be problems down the road if you never get it checked and end up having the replace it. Also, do not forget to change your AC filters every month; having old dusty filters in your vents will cause the AC unit to over work which will also reduce the life of your AC.

BEATING THE SUMMER HEAT

Living in Las Vegas for the summer is not always ideal. With temperatures over 100 everyday it is hard to find things for your little ones to do during the day. Kids love the summer because that means no school (in most cases), but sometimes it gets way too hot for even them to enjoy playing outside!  When you are thinking of all the fun things you can do with the kids, start thinking INSIDE the box. You do not have to go to extremes this summer to have fun with kids. Start off with something simple like a slip and slide; it will burn a ton of their energy while keeping them cool in the water. If that is not something that would work for your family, try something a little selfish; have the kids wash the outside of the family car. Playing with soap and water outside with the family is so effortless but will satisfy not only the kids but you as well. The best part about washing the car is not that the car will be clean, but it is the fact you will be spending quality time with your little ones. Let’s stay outside; get a big bag of water balloons. You do not only have to have a water balloon fight, there are TONS of games on the internet that you can look up to have hour’s worth of fun outside with your kiddies. If you have smaller kids, get a pack of those colorful kitchen sponges that come in multiple packs; cut them in to strips, and tie them together, then soak them in water and they will turn into fun sponge ball! They soft, easy to grab, and they do not break like water balloons so they are safe for kids. Take the kids swimming, or to a splash pad; that way they can burn all their energy running around and playing in the water. Both of those are also really good for kids without siblings because they will not have to play alone; there is ALWAYS other kids playing at the pool and the splash pad just waiting for a new friend. How about a frozen drink to cool everyone down? All you will need for this is water, ice, Kool-Aid and a blender. Mixing all of that together to make the family a home-made slushy to enjoy while they are trying to beat the summer heat. Never underestimate the power of a well-place hose in your yard. Hanging a hose from a tree branch with a sprayer on and letting the kids run through it will kill two bird with one stone, not only will the kids enjoy a day in the hose, it will also water your thirsty grass on this very hot summer day. Finding water guns at places as cheap as the dollar store can really make your kids day; set up “safe zones”  where they can run to, and put out things like trash cans, cars, and having the kids hide behind trees for them to have a full day real life Modern War Far. There are multiple things you and the kids can do to be this summer heat; get out there and get wet!

HOW-TO PHOTOGRAPH YOUR OWN REAL ESTATE LISTINGS

If you are an agent in the Las Vegas area, and you are not hiring a professional photographer there are some tips I can give you to make your listing look more appealing to the buyer’s eyes. In this blog we are not only going to talk about tips to make your listing stand out, we are going to talk about things to avoid when taking photos of your listing. First thing you are going to need to think about is the equipment you will need when photographing the home; recommended things are getting a tripod, and more than one lenses. When you bring a tripod you are ensuring that your photos will be at a good angle, and also your photos will not end up being blurry when balanced on a tripod. After you have your tripod think about what lenses you will want for the home, yes when you are photographing big rooms and closets you will want a wide lens, but if you want to photograph things like details on the stairwell you will want something a little more precise than a wide angle. Going to the home before the initial shoot will really give you a good idea on how you would like the photos to come out. After you think about all the ways you would like to photograph the home, sign a contract with your seller. This might be a no brainier for most people, but if you are naive like me, you will show up thinking the home is ready and what was supposed to be a 30 minute shoot will turn into a 4 hour process of cleaning, staging, and then photographing. Make sure you know what you are getting yourself into before you go to the home. Signing a contract with them will make sure both you and them are covered in this process. After the photo shoot, use regular editing. Yes, everyone wants their photos to look amazing and make the home look better, but over editing your photos can really turn your buyers off when they come to home and it is not at all how it looked in the photo. After you have done the shoot and edited, try and have a quick turnaround the faster the photos are taken and uploaded, the faster you can upload them to attract the buyers. When thinking about all the good things in photographing your own homes, you have to think of the negatives as well so you are not blindsided. Unless you have your own good lighting you will really need to plan out the time you are going to photograph the home so it is not too bright but also not dark. Nature lighting is the best lighting, but the weather does not always work out in your favor. When you are planning to photograph the home, really explain the importance of having it staged and cleaned to your seller so there is no confusion. Maybe even rearranging their furniture so that it makes the home more bright and open can really upgrade your photos. Starting to photograph you homes can be tricky at fight, but after you get all the equipment and editing soft wear the photo shoots will become a breeze.