Benefits of air duct cleaning

Your air ducts are one of many sources by which allergens, mold, fungus and dirt can enter your home. Everything you do in your home has the potential to pollute your air ducts. This is especially harmful if you smoke or if you have had a fire or a gas or chemical issue in your home. We stir up dust and other pollutants every time we walk across our carpet, sit down on our furniture or cook a meal in our kitchen.

While experts and health professionals are careful not to point to dirty air ducts as the only source of contaminants in your home, cleaning them out will give the bad stuff one less place to hide. Continue reading “Benefits of air duct cleaning”

4 low cost alternatives to list a rental property

Do you have a piece of sweet property you’d like to rent? Great – now it’s time to spread the word. These days, renting is highly competitive for both tenants and landlords – the former want to beat others to all the nice places while the latter want good tenants year-round without the ‘competition’s’ real estate overshadowing their own.

Here’s where listing sites come in handy – they’re a great way to let people know you’re renting their dream place. To make it in today’s real estate business even as a modest landlord, you’ll have to move past posting an ad on Craigslist and onto some of the more specific sites your future tenants might be browsing. Here are 4 low cost alternatives to help you with this.

List A Rental Property

Zillow.com: A neat site for both tenants and landlords, Zillow is equal parts appealing and functional. It won’t just list your property for free – it will also provide various tools that help you get the best deal for your real estate. For example, Zillow offers to connect you to various professionals that can manage your property or improve its quality, and it can also clue you in on whether you’re asking for too much or too little based on the area you’re in and the quality of the property itself.

Trulia.com: A part of the Zillow Network, a free listing on Trulia can automatically list you on many other sites as well, including well-known ones like Yahoo Homes and MSN Real Estate. You might want to customize the listing of an individual property for each site, though – if nothing, the site gives you a fairly comprehensive list of other sites you’ll want to be on. Trulia also offers a premium feature – for $30 a month, your property will appear as a ‘featured listing’ on the website, letting you stand out from your competitors.

Apartments.com: If you’re renting a place to live in the U.S., you’re probably checking out this site. For landlords, it’s a great way to get exposure on some top-level domains, especially if you’re picky about your rate and the type of tenants you get. Like its competitors. Apartments.com lists you for free but also offers several paid-for packages that will supposedly improve your property’s standing. This site’s premium advertising stands out in that it offers HD video ads and even a 3D tour, which will come in handy for those renting some of the more exclusive properties.

PadLister.com: PadLister makes great use of Google Maps to provide visitors a uniquely effective interface through which they can find rentals with minimum hassle. As a property owner, your listing will be accepted free of charge and is notably comprehensive – you’ll have an easier time finding tenants when you’re able to supply them with additional information and conditions. The site also features a type of premium screening service that helps you filter tenants through online applications, although the fee for these supposedly goes out of the tenants’ pockets – the application service will let you examine potential tenants’ backgrounds and financial standing with far greater ease, which is a blessing for owners of attractive properties who are very specific about the people they’d like to rent to.

 

Tips for remodeling a rental property

Have you been renting a property for the same rate for what seems like a very long time? What if we told you that the rate could go much higher with a few simple steps on your part (and maybe a couple of the more complicated ones)?

Remodeling a rental property is about as sound of an investment as you can make – the property’s already making you money, so you don’t have to fear a lack of ROI. The only outcome is you earning even more once the place becomes more appealing to the eye – here are some tips to do it.

 Tips For Remodeling

  • Hire an interior decorator. None of that Feng Shui stuff – the positive effect a talented interior decorator can have on a property is staggering. Even if you think you have everything set up nicely, you better believe that a pro could prove you wrong and surprise you with just a few modifications to the layout and the color scheme.
  • Invest in some new furniture. Easy to say, right? You don’t need to empty your pockets for this to work out. For starters, you’ll want to check every piece of furniture for issues – tenants hate living in broken or squeaky beds, and they absolutely loathe having an armchair they can’t sit on because it would collapse unto itself. With each day spent in such an environment, your tenants will be more inclined to look for better rental alternatives and are sure to jump to the first one they see. Prevent this by giving them an attractive and functional living environment. No need for an expensive set of leather furniture and glass tables – fully functional and cozy does the trick just fine.
  • Consider an alternative flooring option. Carpets are nice and all, but they can be difficult to clean and stain easily, making them less-than-ideal for rented property, especially when having multiple tenants. Use pricey carpets and you risk having them ruined by one too many parties. Use inexpensive carpets and you’ll give the whole place a cheap look and maybe even make it seem as if you’re hiding some flooring mishap. Instead, consider adding some tiles to improve the floor’s appearance and durability – tiles look great and are very easy to clean, making them ideal for tenants of all sorts. The trick with tiles is to not overdo it – while they can go on any floor, you don’t want a whole home covered in them. Bathrooms, kitchens, hallways, utility rooms – all of these can make great use of some good-looking tiles.
  • Add some entertainment and leisure objects for your tenants. Don’t give your tenants an empty room and ask them to fill it. How about a flat-screen TV in the living room that will allow them to relax better, or fancy lighting that will make evenings more pleasant and encourage social gatherings? These types of additions are small, but can mean a world of difference when looking to rent your property to someone and keep them as your tenant for a long while.

 

How to stage a property to sell

There’s no shortage of money to be had from real estate – everyone’s gotta live someplace, right? The trick with selling any property is getting the absolute most for it. In five or ten years, you don’t want to end up feeling as if you should have waited to make the sale, nor do you want people telling you that you sold the property way under its actual value.

Timing and business savvy are helpful, but there’s also something to be said for good old-fashioned presentation: we all know how important first impressions are. Here are some tips to stage a property you’re selling and get the most out of it regardless of its current state.

Stage A Property For A Fast Sell

  • Investing a hundred dollars to repair something conspicuous could easily give you back ten or twenty times as much when you’re selling the property. Every hole, leak, loose wire and so on will reduce the appeal of your property by a lot. It doesn’t matter that the buyer can easily perform the repair after acquisition – they’ll always wonder: “What else doesn’t work in this run-down joint?” Don’t go all Scrooge and insist on selling the property as-is – every repair will increase its value exponentially.
  • Going beyond just repairs, you can increase the value further with a few moderate investments. Are the walls getting yellowish? A paint job will do wonders when you’re having buyers over. Does the furniture have a last-century feel to it, and not in a good way? Some new chairs, tables and sofas could revitalize the place and make it much more desirable.
  • Is everything as clean as possible? Here’s another factor that gets overlooked by property sellers. “They can always clean the place once they’ve bought it”, right? Wrong. If the property you’re selling is dirty, the customer will assume you haven’t taken care of it and will expect numerous other issues, from broken-down installations to rats in the walls. Scrub that bathroom, clean those carpets and upholstery, make the place smell nice – it will all play a role once people start coming over for a look.

 

Alright, so you’ve made things nice and squeaky-clean on the inside, but what about the outside? Think of the outside view as the first impression before the first impression – you can’t have any part of the property’s exterior standing out in a bad sense if you hope to make a successful sale. Spare a few bucks to face lift the outside as well – a new paint job on the outer walls, new rain gutters, a nicer driveway, an upgrade to the patio…

Remember that successfully selling a property, especially a residential one, involves making people see themselves in it. Of course this means that the indoors should be stylish and comfortable, but it also means the exterior should signal status and tidiness – whoever’s moving in probably wants the neighbors to respect them and perhaps even feel a little jealousy over how nice the newly-acquired home is. If you can bring your property to a point where it makes its new owners proud from the get-go, you can expect far greater returns than if you sold something ‘in need of work’.

3 training programs for real estate investing

If real estate investing was easy, everyone would be doing it – everyone with a bit of capital to spare, at least. Renting real estate is easy, buying it is a walk in the park and selling it is no problemo – doing all of these right, however, is another story.

Due to the appeal of investing in real estate and the potential for large profits while the property ‘works for you’, lots of self-proclaimed real estate gurus have popped up in recent times, all promising to turn anyone with money to invest into the next Donald Trump. Finding useful advice on how to make money from real estate investing can be a pain – here are 3 training programs that will prevent your net worth from collapsing.

Fixing and Flipping Real Estate by Marty Boardman: This book focuses on one of the most appealing forms of real estate investment: buying a run-down or low-value property and transforming it into something worth several times more than its initial price. True, many great properties of present day were once a far cry from their current state, but again, if the ‘fix-and-flip’ was so easy, everyone would be doing it. In his book, Boardman tries to go past the glamour of transforming property to increase its value and tackles the nitty-gritty of it all in a friendly manner. Many books promise to make you serious cash – this is one that can actually deliver on its promise with time, effort and a little luck on your side.

Investing in Land by Robert J. Abalos: This guide doesn’t get enough praise, which probably goes hand-in-hand with the fact that there are few successful land investors. If you ever wanted to purchase a scrap of land and create something worthwhile on it, don’t skip this book – it’s not the newest entry, but it’s still a tome of useful information. Of course, Abalos’ work doesn’t just deal with built-from-scratch real estate investing – he also goes over what makes real estate moguls successful and how you can minimize your risks on your way to (hopefully) becoming one of them.

The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Real Estate Investment Course by Jack Cummings: Even older than the previous entry, the fact that this book dates back to 1993 might make some think it’s out-of-date. In reality, it’s quite contemporary and is written with a hands-on approach that will let you realistically assess your investing knowledge before you go out there and do something silly. While the book does claim to cater to both new and experienced real estate investors, it will offer much more to the latter with its intricate examination of investing nuances. The ‘course’ focuses on all types of investment equally, from purchasing property without structures to acquiring established buildings that simply need a better business model. It’s a bit older, so it might be difficult to get your hands on a mint copy, but if you do, it can do wonders for your investment future – it won’t turn you into a real estate pro in 36 hours, but it might save you quite a bit of money.