How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Saving the environment is on everyone’s minds. Taking the time to make your home energy efficient not only helps the planet, but it lessens the costs of being a homeowner. Find out how you can improve your home’s performance with these energy efficient upgrades.

RealQuick: How does using less energy make a difference?

We all know that using less gas and other eco-friendly measures help the environment, but how?

Imagine a jar of flour. Once you’re out of the flour, you need more. At first you can just walk to the grocery store, but soon the store is out of flour, and soon after that you need to drive further and further away to find some.

If you use all the flour at once, you’ll suddenly have to drive hours to get some. This will cost you gas money and take lots of time. You’d be upset if you found your kids playing with it — not only is it messy, but in this scenario, it’s wasteful. You would only use flour when you really needed it.

Energy is similar to flour.

Most of our energy resources are nonrenewable. When we run out of fossil fuels, we will have no more left. Unlike flour, however, fossil fuels are bad for the environment.

When we’re unaware of our energy consumption, we end up wasting precious resources. This not only causes unnecessary damage, but it also means more energy is needed to produce and transport energy.

Being as energy efficient as possible makes a difference for the planet by consuming fewer resources. It also makes a difference in our wallet — homeowners can save more than $1,000 every year with some of these simple changes.

Replace your lightbulbs.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are 75 percent more efficient and last six times as long as regular light bulbs. CFLs save you money with their energy efficiency, but the savings don’t stop there. Since they last longer, you save money by not having to buy new bulbs as frequently.

Homeowner Savings: Up to $200 a year.

Get a power strip.

Did you know that even when you turn off electronics, they still draw energy if they’re plugged in? This costs homeowners about $100 a year by keeping things plugged in. 

Get a power strip with a switch, and get in the habit of turning it off (or unplugging it). Since you don’t use your TV, game console, or other electronics during the day or late at night, you could save a lot with this simple step.

Homeowner Savings: Up to $100 a year.

Install a ceiling fan.

It’s common for most people to turn on the AC when it’s hot (and if you’re in Arizona, California, or another warm state, we don’t blame you). But by using a ceiling fan instead of an air conditioner, you can save money and use much less energy.

Ceiling fans often come with switches that change the direction of airflow in a room. Even in the winter, a fan can help warm a room, meaning you can rely on your home’s heating less.

Homeowner Savings: AC costs an average of $.36 per hour, ceiling fans cost $.01 per hour. Use fans only when you’re in the room, since fans only cool you, not the room.

Insulate your windows.

Double pane windows are expensive — usually anywhere from $100 to $1,000 per window — but they serve as a great form of insulation and prevent air leakage.

However, there’s an even cheaper option that can still help you save. Purchase window insulation kits (typically less than $15) and apply them to your windows in fall. Insulating your windows means your heating systems don’t have to work as hard to function.

Homeowner Savings: Some estimates show $20 per year, per window.

In our next blog, we’ll cover some of the bigger energy efficiency upgrades you can make. Making your home energy efficient saves you money and helps the planet, but there’s another benefit we’ve yet to mention: adding value to your home. 

When you’re ready to sell your home, these smaller changes have a lasting impact and make your home more desirable to buyers. Put your eco-friendly home on the market with a RealtyHive time-limited event, and see results sooner.

Post-Move Checklist

Congrats on moving into your new home! As exciting (and exhausting) as it is to get into your new place, the craziness of moving isn’t over just yet. Don’t forget these important post-move details that are essential to settling in.

Switch Utilities

Before you move out of your old place, call the electric and internet company (and any other utility companies as needed). Let them know that you’re moving out and when. If you’re not moving far, you’ll likely transfer over all utilities to your new address. 

Moving to a new city or state? The energy company will need your new address as well to forward any remaining bills (or money that they owe you).

Update Address

There are three main entities that need your updated address:

Post Office

No need to go to the post office in person — you can update your address online. It will take no more than a few minutes and there might be a small fee (usually a dollar). Forwarding your mail ahead of time ensures nothing gets lost in the post-move shuffle.

DMV

Update your address on your driver’s license if you’re still in the state. In some states, you might need to update your license plates as well. Check with your local DMV for answers.

Moving out of the state means updating your license and plates, and sometimes getting an emissions test. If you own your car (as in, you don’t have a loan payment), you might want to transfer your title over as well. Do this within the first month that you move in. You could get ticketed for moving to a new state and not updating your plates fast enough.

Bank

Luckily, this is another instance where you can change your address online. If you have online banking set up, update your address online — for both your checking/savings account and credit card(s). This is especially crucial for people moving out of their zip code — the last thing you want is dealing with a declined card at the grocery store or gas station — but everyone should change their address with their bank.

Contact Insurance

You should have already talked to your insurance company in the buying process, but once you’ve got the house, let them know the deal went through.

If you didn’t buy a house, talk to your agent about transferring over renter’s insurance. Many landlords will make proof of renter’s insurance a condition of you moving in.

Transfer Internet and Streaming Services

Nights or weeks without Netflix and Hulu? No way! Transfer each of your streaming services to your new address — it’s usually pretty simple. Hulu allows up to four location changes in a 12-month period, so you shouldn’t have any issues.

Internet can be a bit more tricky. If staying in range of your current provider, call the company to help you transfer over your services. Out-of-range movers will need to cancel their internet, return any modems as necessary, and set up a new service.

RealQuick: Out-of-State Moving Hacks

Moving out of state can be quite the hassle. We’ve compiled some tips to make the transition easier.

  • Moving for a new job? Track every expense from gas mileage to moving vans. You can get a tax credit for doing so. Similarly, even if you don’t move for a job but traveled for a job interview, record your expenses for tax season.
  • Don’t know anyone? That’s pretty common for people moving out of state. If you’re in or near a city, use Meetup to join groups of people with similar interests. There are Meetups for everything from running clubs to learning how to draw anime!
  • Not taking any furniture? Wait on buying if you can. Once you change your address, you’ll usually be sent coupons for furniture stores in the area that can help you save.

Whether you’re ready to buy a new home or sell your current home, RealtyHive is here to help. We make the buying and selling process easy with our time-limited events, meaning you can focus more on getting settled in. Look through our listings today!

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Performing fall maintenance around your home can do everything from saving money on energy bills to keeping you comfortable in the colder months. No matter if your winters are in sunny Scottsdale or wickedly cold Wisconsin, there are a number of things homeowners need to do each fall to prepare for winter. 

Check your heating and fireplace.

Fall is a great time to change out your furnace filters, check your thermostat batteries, and schedule an HVAC check. Have a professional look at your home’s heating once a year — preferably well before you need to start using it — to make sure everything’s in order. Also, insulate your ductwork to help your HVAC systems run more efficiently.

Additionally, your fall home maintenance shouldn‘t skip over the fireplace and chimney. Have your chimney swept and looked at by a professional once a year. Clean the blower (if there is one), make sure the damper is working, and check the pilot on a gas fireplace. 

Close up outdoor spaces.

Unless you’re living in one of those warm winter places that the rest of us envy, your outdoor spaces should be cleaned up and put away. Put covers on the grill, bring in patio furniture, and close up your pool by blowing water out of the pump to prevent damage from freezing temps.

While you’re winterizing your home on the outside, it’s a good idea to clean your gutters. Winter snow and ice can lead to blockage in your gutters when there’s excess debris.

Consider making some upgrades.

The thought of buying a new furnace is enough to make any homeowner cringe. However, there are a couple of moderate home improvements and upgrades that could lower your costs:

Energy-Efficient Upgrades for Your Home

  1. Get a programmable thermostat.

    EnergyStar estimates you can save up to $180 a year, just from updating your thermostat.

  2. Switch to double pane windows.

    Double pane windows pay for themselves after a few years, helping you save thousands in the long run.

  3. Update appliances to be energy efficient

    It might seem like we’re doubling back, but energy efficient appliances make a huge difference, for your home, your wallet, and the environment. Plus, you can get a 10% tax credit for making the switch.

Stock up on winter inventory.

Even the southern states can get ice storms! Especially if you’re a first-time homeowner, make sure you’ve got a good shovel, a bag of salt, work gloves, snow boots, and anything else needed to deal with storms, both errant and expected.

Check for drafts.

No home is perfectly sealed. When cold air leaks in and warm air leaks out, your heating has to work a lot harder — and you have to pay more on your energy bill. Insulate

Fall home maintenance is a lot to deal with, even for the most experienced of homeowners. Feel like there’s too much maintenance needed on your home? Sell through a time-limited event with RealtyHive! From selling homes quick and easy to helping you find your dream home, RealtyHive does it all.

Staging a Home for Sale: The Bathroom

Like your home’s heating and the weather, we only think twice about a bathroom when something’s off. When you’re getting ready to stage your home for sale, the bathroom is a room that surprisingly gets overlooked. Make sure your bathroom is set to shine with these staging tips!

Thoroughly clean.

Bathrooms are hardly the focus point of a showing, but a gross and dirty bathroom is off-putting — enough so that a buyer might lose interest.

The first step to preparing your bathroom for staging is to deep clean. Scrub the tub and toilet, wipe down surfaces, sweep and mop, and take care of the mirror. Remember that any spot you miss will be an immediate eyesore and attention grabber — even if your bathroom isn’t the highlight of your home, it’s necessary for it to look spotless.

Update your shower curtain, towels, and bathmats.

At the very least, if you’re going to put out clean towels and bathmats, make sure they’re clean and look great. Updating to some cute decor is an inexpensive way to improve the look of your bathroom. While things don’t have to exactly match, make sure that your colors and patterns complement each other.

Shower curtain looking a bit dingy? Use this as an opportunity to upgrade. A beautiful, pristine bathroom with a shower curtain that has seen better days is guaranteed to lessen the look of the room.

Focus on lighting.

Before staging for photographs or hosting an open house, make sure all lightbulbs are working. But even if they are functioning, consider changing them out — good lighting is the key to a good photo. 

Since most bathrooms don’t have access to natural light, brighter bulbs or warm-light bulbs can showcase this room better. If you’re taking pictures of the bathroom yourself, consider moving a lamp just outside the bathroom to get better lighting.

Highlight the best features.

It’s OK if your bathroom doesn’t have a gorgeous clawfoot tub or rain shower head. But if there is a standout feature of your bathroom, now’s the time to show it off! Shine a light (and in some cases, literally) on those amazing aspects of your bathroom.

Declutter the space.

An extra mirror or piece of artwork on the wall can enhance your bathroom’s look. Pictures of your family, makeup and shaving kits left out on the counter, and dirty laundry on the floor will do the exact opposite. 

Make sure you clear off everything before taking photos. A good rule of thumb, think of how you would want the bathroom to look if your in-laws were coming over (though we guess maybe in some instances, that advice might backfire).

Make any necessary fixes.

A leaky faucet, a toilet that regularly clogs — these aren’t things you want to deal with or have showing when it comes to showings and home inspections. Even if these minor issues won’t show up in staging photos, it’s better to take care of them sooner rather than later.

As one homebuyer recently said, “I went to a showing on a house that was kind of gross, but okay. Then I went into the bathroom. The toilet was filled with black sludge. I was horrified.” Needless to say, she passed on the house. 

Don’t let this be the case for your home sale! As minor as a bathroom might seem, it’s an important detail of your home that truly can break (or even make) your potential to sell. If you want to sell fast, good staging is the place to start — but so is selling with RealtyHive. Work with us for a fast and easy time-limited event today!

Is it Better to Build or Buy a House?

To build or to buy — that is the question. Both options have their draws and flaws, and figuring out the right option for you is crucial in the homebuying process. Our real estate blog is here to help you make this tough decision a little easier.

If you want to customize everything…

Building is a better option for you. It’s not impossible to renovate a house into your dream home, but it could be more expensive than just starting from scratch. The median home in the US costs $229,000 and adding on renovations only increases that price. An important rule of thumb: The more you want to change about an existing home, the more you’re going to pay.

If you want to save money upfront…

This is a bit of a toss-up, but the short answer is that buying will likely be cheaper.

As mentioned, the median home price is $229k. The average cost to build a house is $290,000. The variances from region to region are massive, but on the whole, building is known to cost more.

When new build homes are cheaper

In rural areas, it’s usually cheaper to buy a plot of land and build on it — as long as the house you’re building is on the modest side. If you build a 1- to 2-bedroom house on a plot of rural land, there’s a good chance you’ll save money compared to buying a house in the nearest city.

If you want to move in faster…

Buying will almost certainly be quicker. The closing process on buying a home can take around 35 to 45 days. While that feels like a long time (especially to the homebuyers ready to move in!), a 2014 survey showed that building a house took an average of 7 months. If you’re itching to get into your new home, building is not the way to go.

If you want to flip or rent out a property…

You’ll want to buy. In the time it takes to build a house, you could already have closed on an existing home, made the necessary renovations, and have tenants paying you rent. Time is money, and the time it takes to build will cost you way too much. 

As a property flipper or rental property owner, you obviously want to make money. Nine times out of 10, buying will be a better investment with more immediate and visible ROI.

If you want an eco-friendly house…

This one is also a toss-up, but either way, good for you for thinking about your environmental impact!

If you build a house, you can make it eco-friendly from the start, installing things like solar panels and geothermal heating. Everything from the building material to the types of windows you install can make a difference for your home. Depending on how eco-friendly you want to go, there’s a chance you could save money by building in these measures instead of replacing things in an existing home.

Buying a house and trying to make it eco-friendly can have its limits. However, buying a home means you’re not disrupting the land, nor using new materials. Creating those new materials and transporting them uses energy, and also leads to more things in landfills. 

Ultimately, there’s much less of an environmental impact to buy a home and outfit it with some green renovations. But since building homes is still necessary, you could take the opportunity to create a house that’s highly sustainable. In some instances, these homes practically pay for themselves. 

No matter the route you go, you’re bound to help the environment and add immense value to your home.

If you’re looking for a solid home that’s built to last…

You’ll probably want to buy. Home inspections tell a lot about how well a house functions. If you put in an offer on a home (including a contingency about the results of an inspection) and find out it’s got issues, you can turn it down. If something goes wrong while building, you’re stuck with it.

That’s not to say building issues can’t be resolved, but it’s really stressful to find the right contractors for the job. Not wanting to deal with the stress of creating a home? Look for a solid, sturdy, existing home that people have already lived in and loved.

No matter whether you build or buy, with RealtyHive, you’ve got options. We’ve got plenty of beautiful and reliable existing homes to choose from! What’s more, we sell land so you can build your dream house — and we have an in-house building company that you can trust. You can find a home or plot that’s in development and add on customizations as you like. Start buying or building your beautiful new home with RealtyHive today!

  • RealtyHive uses an in-house builder to customize homes as you like.

Deal Hunting: Great deals on WI Land Properties

75.23 Acres on Lake Drive, Shawano, WI, 54166, United States

Sugg. opening bid: $64,900  | 75.23 acres

Here is a hunters paradise. Filled with trophy whitetails, but when your not hunting you’ll find excellent fishing, ATV, and snowmobile trails. Making this the ideal getaway for the active outdoorsman or woman. Right off of Shawano Lake, you should save a portion of your time for fishing. Below I have attached an interactive map that shows the types of fish along with where in the lake those fish where caught.

Hunt-ability: 🦌🦌 🦌 🦌

Fish-ability: 🐟🐟🐟

ATV-ability: 🚴🚴

Recommended Buy: Primos Dogg Trap

This affordable calling system comes with 10 preloaded Randy Anderson sounds. It can send the sound unbelievably long distances to bring in predators from up to 150 feet away.  Its light enough to carry with you on your run-and-gun hunts, and only needs six AA batteries which make it affordable and accessible. If your looking to pursue predators then consider pursuing a Primos Dogg Trap. 

Interactive fishing map of Shawano Lake: Here


W3773 Broennenberg Rd, Wausaukee, WI, 54177, United States

Sugg. Opening Bid: $64,900  | 38.4 Acres

The Previous owner of this property put a lot of time and effort into turning this land into a magnificent hunting property! It has tillable land, multiple shooting lanes, water source(multiple ponds), and multiple permanent hunting stands. 

Hunt-ability: 🦌🦌 🦌 🦌

Fish-ability: 🐟🐟

ATV-ability: 🚴🚴

Recommended Buy: Thermacell Mosquito Repellent

I think we can all unanimously agree that mosquitoes suck. And over the years they’ve proven to be quite a nuisance to hunters. If you’ve ever sat in a deer stand for a lengthy period of time, then you can probably attest to the fact that mosquitoes have no respect for your wooden oasis. That being said traditional repellents often repel much more than just bugs. They often end up scaring off potential prey with their potent smell.  Here’s where I introduce Thermacell Mosquito Repellent which gets raving reviews from hunters claiming its light, odor-free, and effective. 


334 Acres Old M69, Crystal Falls, MI, 49920, United States

Sugg. Opening bid: $345,000  | 334 Acres

This unique tract of land has several appealing features. Its highlight being the river frontage on the Michigamme River. This is not a timber tract but it features an attractive woodland setting which is very good for grouse and deer hunting. This is also a good property for fishing, mushrooming, hiking, kayaking and so much more! Crystal Falls being recognized as one of the top locations in the country for ruffed grouse and woodcock hunting. This area also offers outstanding hunting for whitetail and black bear!

Hunt-ability: 🦌🦌 🦌 🦌

Fish-ability: 🐟🐟🐟

ATV-ability: 🚴

Recommended Buy: The MeatEater Fish And Game Cookbook

The best part about hunting season (besides taking pictures and bragging on social media) is taking home your kill and turning it into a lovely meal. The possibilities are endless when it comes to ways of preparing the food. Lucky for us, Steven Rinella put a large portion of the possibilities together in one book!


Tbd Co Rd 496, Ishpeming, MI, 49814, United States

List Price: $395,000  | 392 Acres

A rare find here! 392 acres of mixed terrain and combination of oak/maple/pine trees. With maturing timber that has not yet been harvested, this property is a great future timber investment property! This land offers private hunting, ATV trails throughout making it an amazing location for a potential Family lodge or home!

Hunt-ability: 🦌🦌 🦌 

Fish-ability: 🐟

ATV-ability: 🚴🚴🚴🚴

Recommended Buy: Solar Powered Cell Phone Charger

Nowadays just about everyone has a personal cell phone. This is good for hunters now that there are a number of helpful apps for hunting. The problem is keeping your phone charged when you’re away from electricity for such long periods of time. That’s when the Solar Powered Cell Phone Charger comes in. It can be pre-charged and carries enough battery to recharge most Samsung and iPhones 2-4 times!


640 Acres Peshekee Grade, L’Anse, MI, 49946, United States

List Price: $785,00  | 640 Acres

These 640 acres are filled with rivers, gravel road access, towering white pine, mixed hardwoods, and one of the most diverse wetland/river complexes in the U.P! In these woods there’s the potential to see a variety of species such as eagles, moose, geese, deer, bears, grouse, the occasional wolf, bobcats, and coyotes! This land is good for almost all outdoor activities. There’s fish in the rivers, animals in the woodlands, and miles of hiking in and around the property!

Hunt-ability: 🦌🦌 🦌 🦌 

Fish-ability: 🐟🐟🐟

ATV-ability: 🚴

Recommended Buy: Scent Crusher Ozone Go

The scent crusher ozone go goes right into your car’s 12v outlet and kills scents of early morning bacon, egg, and biscuits that may be lingering on your hunting clothes. Not only does this eliminate smells that could warn prey of your location, but it can also freshen up your car after hunting.


Srn-3-5 Autio, Covington, MI, 49919, United States

Suggested opening bid: $525,000  | 470 Acres

This is some of the best recreation lands in the U.P!  It features amazing trout fishing, trophy buck hunting and conveys of grouse along with hiking, canoeing, biking, snowshoeing and just about any other activity you can think of! This land also just happens to be located on the famous Sturgeon River and even has some frontage on the Rock river as well. 

Hunt-ability: 🦌🦌 🦌 🦌 🦌

Fish-ability: 🐟🐟🐟🐟

ATV-ability: 🚴🚴🚴

Recommended Buy: PEET Advantage Boot Dryer

It’s common to come back from a hunting trip with wet boots and wet gloves, but it can be a real pain putting soggy clothes on when you go out the next day. This is where I tell you about the Peet Advantage Boot Dryer which can remove wet, sweat, and odor from your boots. It’s important that a dryer doesn’t dry your boots to quickly otherwise you risk cracking or stressing the boots. The PEET Advantage Boot Dryer dries both boots and gloves at just the right speed to keep your things in good condition, but get them dry and ready for your next day of hunting. 


80 Acres N Fence River, Crystal Falls, MI, 49920, United States

List Price: $59,000  | 80 Acres

When hunters think of big bucks in the UP they think of Iron County because of its unequaled bear, deer, and grouse hunting. The trout fishing can be very good at times, and there is room for plenty of recreation on the property. So bring your ATV’s, snowmobiles, and hiking boots because you can do it all and more on this chunk of land!

Hunt-ability: 🦌🦌 🦌 🦌 🦌

Fish-ability: 🐟🐟

ATV-ability: 🚴🚴🚴

Recommended Buy: Masterbuilt Front Controller Smoker with Remote Control

This made the list because immediately upon laying eyes on it I thought it was perfect for my cousin David, whose is the biggest hunter I personally know. I figured if it was up his alley it would probably be up many other hunting fanatics alley as well so I present to you; Masterbuilt Front Controller Smoker with Remote Control! It is big enough and flexible enough to handle the needs of nearly all hunters. If you kill to eat, then this is perfect for you!


Hunting if done correctlly can be a fun and relaxing hobby, but it is important to follow the laws and guidelines of where your hunting. 

  • Where to get a hunting license
    • Wisconsin: All licenses are available for purchase at any DNR Service Center in Wisconsin. There are a number of DNR Service Centers scattered throughout Wisconsin. The link below will show you all the DNR Service Centers in Wisconsin separated by region. 
    • Michigan: Hunting licenses are sold in a number of places throughout Michigan. Below I have attached a link to a website that will show you all the places that sell license near you. 
    • **Licenses are valid from April 1 through March 31 of the following year.**
  • Costs of Licenses
    • Wisconsin
      • Fishing:
        • Resident: Annual license costs $20 and a 1-day pass costs $8
        • Non-resident: Annual license cost $50 and a 1-day license costs $10
        • Senior(65+): $7
      • Hunting:
        • Resident: Deer license:$24, bear hunting: $49, Small Game: $18, Turkey: $15
        • Non-resident:  Deer license: $160, Bear hunting: $251, Small game: $85, Turkey: $60
    • Michigan
      • Fishing: You have to purchase a fishing license if you are 17 or older. ANy younger and you can fish without a license but must follow all fishing rules and regulations
        • Resident: $26
        • Non-Resident: $76
        • Senior(residents 65 or above): $11
        • 24-hour (resident or non-resident): $10
        • 72-hour(resident or non-resident): $30
      • Hunting: 
        • Junior: $6
        • Resident: $11
        • Non-resident: $151
        • Senior(65+ for Michigan residents): $5

Map of deer pop. in Wisconsin : https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/hunt/maps.html

Rebates for Homebuyers (And Sellers!)

It’s tough and competitive to be a real estate agent. In most states, agents try to set themselves apart from their competition by offering real estate rebates to potential homebuyers. Find out how rebates work, and how our new Cashifyd app can help buyers and sellers alike.

What are real estate rebates?

Real estate rebates are incentives, usually monetary in some way, that agents offer homebuyers who choose to work with them. This might be cash back after closing (usually up to 1% back from the broker), a gift card, or some other type of gift.

Are rebates hurting consumers?

The Justice Department did a study on this very topic. They found that rebates are actually helping consumers because it’s saving them money on such a huge investment. Even a little bit of savings can go a long way.

Can anyone get a real estate rebate?

No. There are nine states that do not permit rebates. Rebates are prohibited in Alabama, Alaska, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Tennessee. Iowa doesn’t allow rebates when two or more brokers are used

Traditionally, rebates are only for homebuyers. Sellers have to pay commission for real estate agents, so they could try to negotiate paying a lower commission. But this isn’t exactly a rebate or incentive for sellers — they’re just paying less money.

However, rebates are about to change and include sellers as well. That’s because RealtyHive is introducing Cashifyd, the only app that allows buyers and sellers to get cash back on a home sale.

Make Yourself the Middleman With Cashifyd

Cashifyd is a self-referral marketplace — the first and only of its kind. 

  • If you are a seller looking for an agent, you’ll still pay for their commission. The difference is that by looking for agents through Cashifyd, you’ll actually get money back.
  • If you’re a buyer looking for an agent, you’ll receive a referral rebate when working with Cashifyd.
  • If you’re an agent on Cashifyd, you only pay referral fees when sales happen. No more having to pay big real estate databases for leads that lead nowhere.

How do Cashifyd rebates work?

Other real estate rebate programs have it where you only get cash back if it’s a house that a particular site or company is selling (or helping you buy). In other instances, you might only get a rebate by working with a specific agent.

With Cashifyd, rebates apply for any property and almost any agent — we say “almost” only because the agent has to agree to partaking in this. But as of this blog post, we haven’t had anyone say no!

Cashifyd rebates do not work in those aforementioned nine states, but otherwise can be used around the world. Even buying an international property could land you a referral rebate! And as mentioned, this is the only option for sellers to get a rebate, too.

RealtyHive strives to make buying and selling a better experience for all. Get ready for the Cashifyd launch, and start saving money on your next home sale or investment!

Real Estate Agents: Commissions & Referrals

Real estate agents are highly knowledgeable when it comes to buying or selling a home. From pricing a home to helping with closing, agents do a lot. Most everyone knows that they take a commission — usually 6% — out of a home’s final sale.

But unless you’re in the real estate biz, what many people don’t know is how the referral process for real estate agents works. Find out how referrals occur, and see how you can benefit like an agent in your own home sale.

Does every real estate agent get the same commission?

No. While 6% is the average, it varies by location.

Additionally, agents don’t get the full 6%. That percentage is split between the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent and their respective brokers, so real estate agents really only get 3% of a sale. If there was a referral, they get even less.

What are realtor referral fees?

Take a look at the following example:

Ben lives in Maine but wants to buy a house in Arizona. He doesn’t know anyone out there, so he contacts his real estate agent, Mary, in Maine to see if she knows anyone. Mary agrees to help Ben find an agent out there.

Mary may or may not know anyone, but she’s going to connect with an agent (such as through LinkedIn) in Arizona all the same. She does this because she wants a referral fee — a 25% kickback of the agent’s commission for connecting the Arizona agent with Ben.

Are realtor referral fees guaranteed?

Yes and no. With traditional referrals, a real estate agent only pays a quarter of their commission if there was a sale. They don’t owe the referring agent anything if the sale doesn’t go through. 

However, sites like Zillow charge a flat fee for leads, even if those leads don’t go anywhere for the agent. Real estate agents often spend thousands for leads through sites like these, as unreliable as they can be.

Who pays these referral fees?

Technically, the seller pays them. The seller is responsible for paying all agents involved in the sale and the funds come out of their home sale earnings. But the agent who got the referral gives 25% of their commission to the person who referred them.

Are referrals common?

Not as much as you’d think. As illustrious as referring an agent and getting paid without having to do much legwork seems, it’s typically not enough money to pay the bills. 

On a $250k house, an agent: 

  • Without a referral will make $7500
  • With a referral will make $5625.
  • Who is referring another agent will make $1875.

It should be noted that this money is before the agents need to split it with their brokers so their take-home pay is even less.

Most agents are more concerned about finding their own clients than referring someone — they make significantly more money doing so. However, if the opportunity for referring an agent comes along, it’s definitely a perk.

Introducing Cashifyd: A Referral Alternative For All

At RealtyHive, we are always striving to better the real estate industry, for agents, buyers, and sellers alike. We’re proud to introduce Cashifyd, an app and real estate referral program that connects agents with buyers and sellers, and saves everyone money in the process. Here are the benefits:

Agents only pay when they close.

Unlike Zillow, real estate agents using Cashifyd only pay for referrals when a sale happens. They’ll still contribute 25% of their commission, but it’s no different than a regular sale. If an agent has a lead that doesn’t go through, they won’t have to pay.

Sellers get money back.

This is the biggest reason why Cashifyd is one of a kind. Without Cashifyd, sellers have to fork over money to cover agents’ commissions, including the 25% finder’s fee. By using Cashifyd, sellers are still paying for the agents’ commissions, but also receive some of that money back.

Once the sale goes through, sellers get 80% of that 25% back. We know, that’s a lot of numbers and percentages. Put simply, sellers will spend less on commissions and get cash back for using Cashifyd.

Even buyers can get paid.

Buyers who sign up for Cashifyd and are looking for agents are also connecting the real estate dots, so why shouldn’t they get paid, too? With Cashifyd, buyers have the opportunity to both select the agent of their choosing, and any property they like — it doesn’t have to be one where the seller is using Cashifyd. Plus, they’ll still receive cash back when they close.

Can buyers or sellers come to Cashifyd with an agent in mind?

A buyer or seller has to use Cashifyd before signing with an agent. That’s the only way they’ll qualify, and the only way they’ll get paid back.

Will this negatively impact agents?

Cashifyd is designed to help real estate agents! Instead of having to pay outrageous fees for unreliable leads, Cashifyd helps agents build their clientele while saving money.

Stay tuned for the Cashifyd launch and get ready to save. Until the app goes live, we won’t blame you for starting to shop around for your dream house. Work with RealtyHive for buying or selling your home today!

What Makes a Good Investment Property?

No matter the route you go for real estate investing — such as fixing up your own home, flipping, or renting out a home or commercial property — you want to make sure you’re choosing the right property. These tips can help your income property bring you ROI instead of regret.

The necessary changes are relatively minor.

Some real estate investors pass on home inspections in favor of a faster closing date. These investors typically have an experienced team of contractors who complete renovations quickly. Time is of the essence with investment properties, because the longer you’re holding onto a vacant home, the longer it will take for you to generate a profit.

This is true for flipping or renting out a property, though less so if you’re renovating for your own home. That being said, in nearly every instance you want a property that doesn’t require massive changes. Foundation problems, mold, or other damages will massively eat away at both time and your savings.

The location is a selling point.

Investment property success lies heavily in where the property is located.

  • For most commercial properties, lots of traffic and visibility is crucial. This isn’t always the case if your commercial property is a huge space, such as for corporate offices. But for local shops, you need a location that requires little to no commuting time for your clientele.
  • When buying your first rental property, consider the demographic you’re targeting. Near a college town? Look for a house that’s on-campus or close to it. Single-family home? Suburbs or just outside the hustle and bustle of a city are great locations.
  • If wanting to renovate and sell your own home later on, you should pick a location that’s on the up and up. It’s not ideally located right now, but it will be in 5-15 years. Smaller cities or cities that are remote (such as places out West) are a good place to look.

The property has potential.

It’s OK if your potential rental investment is a carpet nightmare out of the ‘70s. But qualities like hardwood floors (beneath all that carpet), high ceilings, and killer views make this a property with potential. Again, you don’t want a money pit for an income property, but the underlying beauty can turn out incredibly valuable.

Similarly, if your property is in one of those “up-and-up” locations, there is a ton of potential in appreciation. Property owners in cities like Fort Collins and Boulder experienced insane ROI, selling just as these cities became increasingly popular. Even commercial property owners can see huge success from renting out or selling in an area that’s on the come-up.

No property is perfect, but considering these factors can help turn your investment into a successful one. Find the perfect investment property or sell the one you have with RealtyHive! Learn more about time-limited events and get started today.

What Is a Non-Recourse Loan?

Owning a rental property can be a great investment and added source of income. A non-recourse loan is a specific type of loan that’s used to finance a rental property. With a non-recourse loan and rental property in mind, you could be well on your way to building your financial portfolio.

What’s the difference between a recourse and non-recourse loan?

If you fail to pay your mortgage and have a recourse loan, the lender will take your property and you’ll still have to pay the difference on your loan.

A non-recourse loan is a safer option for borrowers. In the event you can’t pay your mortgage, the lender will still take your property but you won’t pay what’s left on the loan.

How does a non-recourse loan work?

Non-recourse loans are unique in that they work with self-directed IRAs or Solo 401ks (individual retirement accounts). In order to qualify for a non-recourse loan, you have to have enough in your IRA to put down at least 40 percent of the property down, plus reserves.

What can a non-recourse loan be used for?

Non-recourse loans can be used to purchase the following types of property:

  • Residential: We’ll list the specifics of residential properties that qualify below.
  • Agricultural: You can buy agricultural land and lease it out, generally for crops or livestock.
  • Commercial: From commercial office buildings to smaller spaces that will be used as businesses, a non-recourse loan can finance this endeavor.
  • Multi-Unit: Apartment buildings or houses that have multiple units available also qualify.

It should be noted that a non-recourse loan can not be used towards renovation. If you see a fixer upper you like, know that this type of loan will not finance that project.

Residential Qualifications

There are some very specific guidelines to whether a home qualifies for a non-recourse loan or not. While this may vary slightly from lender to lender, this serves as a good rule of thumb:

Year

Houses need to be built after 1940. If you find a great pre-1940s home with a solid foundation and little need for renovation, you may still qualify.

Location

The property needs to be in the US (Hawaii and Alaska included). International properties don’t qualify.

Price

Houses need to be at least $70,000.

Residence

You cannot live in this property, nor let anyone in your family or friends live in this property. You have to use it as an investment/rental property. It cannot be your primary residence.

Roof

A single unit in an apartment likely won’t work, because houses only qualify for a non-recourse if they have their own roof. Terraced (row) homes or any type of residence where you aren’t responsible for your roof won’t work.

What kind of rental property can I turn the house into?

The property can become a regular rental, such as for long-term tenants, or a vacation rental! Choosing the right avenue for renting should be based on the property’s location and the area’s need. For example, a house near a college town serves as a great rental property for students; a cottage in the mountains would be better as a vacation rental.

Are there any other financial qualifications?

Yes, though these will vary by lender. You will need:

  • A good credit score (aim for at least 700, preferably higher)
  • Proof of your self-directed IRA and a letter from your IRA account holder
  • Income/expense statements, generally from the past two years
  • A solid DSCR (debt service coverage ratio — it indicates how likely you are to profit from this investment), usually about 1.25

Again, these requirements aren’t the same for every lender, but they serve as a general idea.

Whether you’re breaking into the real estate investment world for the first time or are a seasoned vet, look through RealtyHive’s database to find your perfect property. From owning homes to owning rental properties, our time-limited events can help you find what you’re looking for.