The 4 Tips to Property Investing You Need to Remember

Are you looking for your dream home, or are you trying to generate a sustainable ROI? There’s no denying that real estate can be a very profitable investment, but before you sign the papers and hand over the cash, read the fine print.

To get you started on the right track, we’ve gathered four top things you need to know before you start investing in property.

Location, Location, Location

You’ve probably heard this line in movies, from countless real estate agents, or read it in books, and for a good reason. It’s still one of the most important things to consider before buying a property, and it can have a significant impact on your costs and ROI.

A city, municipality, and even a neighborhood can affect the value of a location. There’s also construction, gentrification, and new developments to consider. For example, a new mall in the area might increase the value of your property.

On the other hand, a hundred-story skyscraper blocking out the beach view of your newly-renovated condos will drop your expected ROI into a black hole.

Remember, location, location, location.

As-Is Properties and House Flipping

There’s nothing wrong with buying a fixer-upper, spending money on renovations, and then selling it for a profit – as long as it fits your budget. You should consider as-is properties, but don’t buy until you’ve thoroughly inspected the place yourself or hired a professional to do so.

Remember, the point of flipping a property is to get more than you’ve spent, so you don’t want any surprises if you can help it.

You should also consider how you want to sell the location once you’re ready. According to one website, it’s essential to understand your listing options, and you should look into the various home selling options available to you.

Keep in mind that you get what you pay for, though, so don’t take chances with cheap methods that won’t get you the ROI you need.

Budgets, Costs, and Taxes

Before you start investing in property or expanding your real-estate portfolio, create a budget. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying to own, flip, or rent out; you should know what you can spend on purchasing, repairing, and maintaining or selling a location. Ensure that the math works in your favor before you sign anything.

You should also try to consider hidden costs. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to plan for everything; after all, even professional architects still make billion-dollar design mistakes. Always try to keep some money in your budget for unexpected costs, repairs, or renovations that might need to be done.

Finally, don’t forget about the taxes. If you’re buying property, you should consider Uncle Sam’s cut in the process. The same goes for renting out or selling a location. Unfortunately, real estate expenses like these can get quite complicated, especially if you’re leasing out or flipping a property. When in doubt, get advice from an expert.

Work With Professionals and Experts

Investing in property for yourself is one thing. You know what you want, whether it’s to live somewhere for an extended period, or just fix things up and flip the place. However, if you’re going to create a sustainable portfolio consisting of several locations, you can’t do everything alone.

Take the time to build a professional team to work with you. For example, one of the first things you may need is an accountant familiar with investment transactions, portfolios, and property taxes.

You should also work with an experienced broker who can help you manage your portfolio while again finding worthwhile investments. These are professionals you need to be able to trust implicitly since they’ll be handling expensive assets.

If you’re going to be renting out properties, retain a legal advisor specializing in tenant law. You should also ensure that you have a strong, reliable property management team. While it may be tempting to give tenants your details, you won’t appreciate a 3 am maintenance call. That should be the responsibility of your on-site manager or associated firm.

Property investment can be extremely lucrative. Unfortunately, it can also be a massive financial sinkhole if you don’t know what you’re doing, so choose to work with a team of experts.

Final Word

Before you decide to invest in real estate, consider the essential criteria: budget, location, and costs. Leave room for unexpected expenses and repairs, especially if you’re going to flip a fixer-upper.

Finally, if you’re going to rent your property out, work with professionals who can help you manage the location and the tenants. By taking the right steps, you can generate a good return on your investment.

Backyard Party Tips for New Home Owners

There are so many exciting firsts as a new homeowner; the first family home-cooked meal, the first holiday, and of course, the first back yard party! By now, you’ve probably realized that there are a lot of things you might not have considered as you move into a new home, and throwing your first party may leave you feeling unprepared.

Not to worry! We’ve compiled this list just for you so you can make your first back yard festivity one to remember for years to come.

Make your guests comfortable

Spend some time hanging out outside in the days leading up to your backyard party to get an idea of how your guests may feel. Pay attention to things like shaded space, muddy spots, and bugs. There are often simple solutions for these small annoyances, like adding a pop-up tent or buying extra bug spray, so it’s best to realize them ahead of time!

Get mealtime just right

When planning the menu, you’ll first want to reach out to your guests to see if there are any allergies or food restrictions you should be aware of. Next, plan ahead to make sure you not only purchase enough food for everyone but that you also have ample fridge and freezer space to store everything.

In the event that you do happen to run short on food, snacks, beverages, or even household essentials, have a mobile delivery service ready to go on your phone so you can get what you need delivered to your backyard party within minutes!

Make your home tour-ready

It’s a given that friends and family will want a home tour the first time they come over so make sure you take the time to get your entire house guest ready. From the obvious spots like bathrooms and the living room to the not so obvious like your closets and master bedroom–guests are going to want to get the full scope of your new layout!

Be sure to vacuum, dust, clean windows, and wipe down all surfaces. Provide an added touch by using a room spray or lighting a candle (only where it can be supervised, of course!).

Don’t stress over the big projects

When moving into a new home, it is likely that there will be many lingering projects like painting, removing carpet and even full-on renovations. Don’t stress over trying to get it all done before your friends and family come over. While giving the home tour, let your guests in on your plans
and visions for updating the space in the near future. You may get some great feedback and ideas you haven’t considered or even a few offers to help.

There’s no need to feel anxious about hosting your first get together as a new homeowner. Keeping these simple tips in mind will make this celebration, whether it’s large or small, one to remember for years to come!

9 Tips to Declutter and Organize Before Selling Your House

First impressions last, which is why you must declutter and organize your home before selling it.

By decluttering, you’re removing any items that aren’t needed to create more space. You need to remove anything that would say that you owned the house, giving way to new buyers.

Sometimes, this job can be overwhelming. That’s why we’re sharing nine great tips you can follow to organize your home.

Have the Right Tools

Decluttering and organizing your house before selling it is like a project. And to make any task more manageable, you need the right tools.

The first on your list should be storage bins for organizing your items. Anything that you would no longer currently need while you’re preparing to move out should be kept here.

Stack these bins in your storage area and observe the huge difference for your buyer. At the same time, you give them an idea of how much stuff they can store in the place.

Label markers and sharpies are essential for labeling the storage bins, so by the time you move to your new home, you already know what’s inside of each.

At Maid Sailors Cleaning Services NYC, we encourage our clients to use this time to throw away what you don’t need. So, trash bags are essential.

Try to choose to types or colors, where one bag is for donation and the other for throwing away.

Clear Up the Pathway

Your pathway or entrance is the first thing buyers see when they visit your home. It’s also their impression of it that usually lasts. This is why it must be clear of clutter.

Start by making sure that there are no shoes scattered by the doorway. It’s best if you have a shoe organizer on the side to remind everyone to place shoes that aren’t in use there. Then, lay a new doormat in front to create a more welcoming ambiance.

You can place pots of plants if you need to but not too much. There shouldn’t be a lot going on in the pathway to give your buyers the space they need.

Remove All Personal Items

The next thing you should do is removing any personal items. Remove collections, out of the ordinary designs, family photos, anything that would scream that it’s your home.

Remember, you’re selling your house, and buyers would want to imagine how they would look if they place their items in the areas.

With your items still all over the place, this creates a distraction for your buyers to imagine the place would look if they’re the ones living there. It’s like getting the feel of the area.

Beautify the Bedrooms

Bedrooms are where you rest after a long day, so it’s only right that you give your buyers the impression that they are comfortable.

As much as possible, the bedroom should look free.

Remove any extra furniture that occupies lots of space. Linens should be clean and fresh, closets are empty and clean, nothing under the bed, and store anything else that seems to be out of place.

Keep the colors as neutral as possible. One that makes the room brighter so they’ll be able to appreciate it better.

Keep the Cupboards and Drawers Organized

When you’re selling a house, keeping things you don’t want anybody to see is a bad idea. This is because buyers would usually check the cupboards and drawers.

This is probably the time you make use of the storage bins and remove any item from your drawers that you don’t want to be there.

Store or throw these things away and keep only what is needed or what should be put there. This will give your buyer an idea of using the cupboards and drawers for their stuff.

Spruce the Living Room

The living room should be another highlight of the house as this is usually the first one the guests see as they enter. It’s essential to keep it organized, clean, and with very minimal accessories.

Store away the magazines and place interesting books in the bookshelves. Keep throw pillows to a minimum, and so is the table decor. If you need to remove extra furniture, do so.

This way, you’re creating a much bigger space that your buyers will surely appreciate.

Showcase Your Kitchen

If you’re selling your house to another family, chances are the mother would love to see how the kitchen looks. It doesn’t matter if you think your kitchen is small or old-fashioned because most of the time, making the place clutter-free does the trick.

Clear the countertops of any extra appliances like the blender or food processor. Wipe them off clean and make sure it’s free from dust or grease. Your refrigerator should be free of magnets and notes, and your pantry tidy.

Don’t also forget to clean up anything in the kitchen. This includes the drawers, the sink, inside the refrigerator, the stove, the freezer, and whatever that needs cleaning.

Make the Bathroom Shine

We all want a clean and organized bathroom where you’re comfortable to do your stuff. That’s why it’s vital to declutter and organize everything.

Keep the countertops free from your shampoo, soap, make-up, and other personal items. Linen closets should be empty, and the medicine cabinet should only contain the basics to give your buyer an idea.

If there are any excess items in the shower or under the sink, remove them. The tiles should be clean, and drains are free from hair. Finally, replace your rug and shower curtain to keep things fresh.

Clean the Laundry Room

Lastly, keep your laundry room clean (even if this is not a usual spot for family members). Put your cleaning products away or organize them neatly.

Clean up any appliances inside the area and remove anything that shouldn’t be there. If there are pieces of clothes hanged, remove them.

The laundry room is only small, so it’s essential that it’s free from clutter to give that illusion that it somehow has ample space.

Moving to a new home is exciting, but making sure that your house would feel livable to a new buyer can be overwhelming. There are lots of rooms to organize and things to be stored away. The tips listed above can help you manage your thoughts on which areas to focus on to make things somehow easy.

How to Stage Your Home to Sell It Quickly in a Competitive Market

One of the most important steps of selling a home is proper staging, and a little bit of work could make a huge difference. Making your home as eye-catching as possible will help you stand out in a competitive real estate market and attract motivated buyers.

Start With a Deep Cleaning

The very first step in this process is deep cleaning every single room in your home. While some buyers might not care about a little bit of clutter or dust, it could turn others away. When certain buyers walk through a messy or cluttered home, they might think that the current owner hasn’t been properly maintaining the home either. Luckily, hiring a professional cleaner can be fairly inexpensive if you don’t feel like cleaning.

Remove Most Personal Items

You don’t have to remove every single personal item from your home before you sell it, but the majority of your belongings should be boxed up and stored elsewhere. That includes items like paintings, old family photos, and knick-knacks. You might also want to spend a little bit of time boxing up any extra clutter that is in the closets, under the beds, or in the garage.

Stay as Neutral as Possible

The best realtor in your area is most likely going to tell you that you need to keep your furniture and decorations as neutral as possible. As a general rule, you want potential buyers to be able to walk into a home and envision themselves living there. Having neutral furniture and decorations is going to create a blank canvas for them. Some sellers even rent neutral items to place in their homes if their current décor is too eclectic.

Don’t Neglect the Lighting

One of the easiest and most effective ways to make a home more eye-catching is to improve the lighting. At the very least, you should make sure that all of the bulbs throughout your home are bright and working correctly. You can also clean the windows and pull back all of the curtains if the buyers are going to be walking through your home during the day. Painting the walls a bright and neutral color is another simple way to improve indoor lighting.

If you don’t feel completely comfortable staging your own home, then you might want to consider working with a professional. An experienced staging specialist will be to transform your home in the blink of an eye, and many of those professionals charge very reasonable rates.

Things to Do Before Moving Into Your New Home

Congratulations! You are a homeowner now. Take a minute and revel at that moment before things start to get real, and there is work to be done. This article offers tips that will make your move manageable and bearable. So read on to find out more.

Finally, moved in. What next?

Purchasing a new home can be thrilling. But moving is never 100% stress-free. From acquiring the property to prepping for the big move, there is a never-ending to-do list. However, planning and prioritizing can make the move less hectic.

Inspecting, cleaning, and learning how your house functions are integral roles for any homeowner. And it is better to do it all before you move instead of postponing till after.

To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of things you need to do. Develop a plan on how to complete these things, and soon enough, you’ll be popping champagne in celebration of the new home.

Inspect the Home Thoroughly for Damage

Check the room for signs of damage

One of the first things to do before moving into your new home is a thorough inspection. Check every room for signs of damage, especially by water. Ensure that the plumbing is installed correctly, and there are no leaks. If there’s a leak, have it fixed and repair any damage caused before moving.

It’s also essential to have the house checked for insects and pests, and if it’s infested, have it fumigated. You can also get the best ultrasonic pest repeller to keep away pests in the future.

Child & Pet Proof

Check your windows so that your pet can’t run off and get lost

If you have children or pets, you must childproof the house before moving.

  • Cover up the outlets, especially those that are within your child’s reach.
  • Ensure that the windows have screens; otherwise, your pets will run out of the window and get lost in the new neighborhood.
  • Be on the lookout for anything that could pose a danger to children and pets, such as loose cords or screws, cleaning supplies, and other home essentials.

Locate the Main Water Valve and the Fuse Box

Locate your electric panel and ensure its functioning

Make sure you know where the electric panel and water valves are in case of an emergency or an issue that needs to be fixed. You must know the rooms each fuse controls in your new home and label them correctly.

Similarly, check if all water valves work. If it’s turned off, turn it on so that you can have water in the house. Also, make sure to have it replaced if damaged.

Secure Your New Home

Change your door locks before moving in

Not that you should be worried about the previous owner, but you never know how many copies of the keys were made and who has them. So, it’s advisable to change the locks before moving your expensive home choice furnishings.

In addition to the new locks, you can install the latest home security system for good measure. Also, get home insurance to cover your property against theft.

Home Improvement With Paint

Paint your house before you move. You will be glad you did

Some aspects of home improvement are best done without furniture getting in the way. Give yourself a few days to apply some handy painting tips before the movers deliver your furniture so that the paint can dry. If you’ve not settled on what to paint the different rooms in the house, just paint everything white, then you can customize it after you move.

Change Your Address

A new house comes with a new address. So you must change your address at the post office and tell your friends and family that you have moved to a new location so that they can send you a ‘home is where the heart is’ card. You must also inform your credit card company, bank, and other essential institutions of the change of address.

According to abroad relocation professional Ryan Banks, mishandled address registrations take one of the top five reasons people suffer when moving as one in 10 people will have to cope with unfortunate consequences.

Do a Deep Clean

Get your products ready for a deep clean

When moving into a new home, make it a habit to do a deep clean first. The person who lived there before you may not have cleaned the house up to your standards, or maybe the repair guys left some residue behind. This is why you must carry thorough home decluttering of the property. So, get your cleaning supplies or hire a cleaning company and make the home fresh and shiny.

Conclusion

Whether this is the first time you’re moving or the fifth, there are things that you can do to make moving stress-free. We’ve covered some useful tips on what to do. Use these tips, and you’ll be shocked at how easy the process will be.

Did you find this article helpful? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

Author’s Bio:

Archie was a builder for more than 40 years. Mainly after his retirement the enthusiastic electrical works in the garden and writes for a blog Homemakerguide.com to keep himself occupied. His many years of experience can get you the right tool reviews whether it is a drill, welding machine or so. An impressive fact to note about him is that almost everything in his house is a representation of his skills made by his hands.

Things That Make Your House a Home Without Spending a Dollar

A house is so much more than just a few walls and a roof over your head. Do you want to revive your humble abode and make it more homely? 

If the cost of interior design is putting you off, know that it’s possible without spending a single dollar. You can add a few personal touches and make some adjustments that don’t have a price tag. 

This article looks into ways to spruce up and enhance your living space with zero cost.

Make a Few Moves

Moving a few items around and rearranging some of your furniture is the easiest way to freshen up a room. Besides giving your living area a new look, it’s also a creative therapeutic process and productive use of your time.

Start with the room where you spend most of your time and pick one item or area as a focal point. Next, consider your lifestyle and the main function of the room. If it’s your bedroom, you should focus on the bed as the essence of your sleeping environment.

If your family loves watching TV together, arrange the lounge area so that everyone has a comfortable seat. Keep your kitchen area practical and functional, as this is often the heart of a home. 

If you can add a few seats to the kitchen, this will allow your loved ones to hang out with you while cooking. Hearty, homely meals will undoubtedly draw them all to the kitchen.

Fix the Faults

You don’t have to spend money to repair the basics. If your pictures or mirrors aren’t hanging straight, start by aligning them. Look at your curtains too. Are all the hooks in place, and does it hang well? 

The team at Best Online Cabinets also recommend that you check all your cupboard and cabinet doors. Pay attention to loose knobs, handles, and hinges to see if anything needs a little tightening.

Move through the rest of your house and check all your lights to see that the bulbs are all working.

Add a Personal Touch

Nothing can overpower your unique personal touch. Show off your treasures by adding family photos. 

Create a gallery wall of precious moments to add some character. It’s bound to be a talking point, plus you can always add to it as time goes by. Allow your kids and partner to choose what they’d like to add, so everyone has a choice and gets the chance to add their visual voice.

Get your favorite books out and display them on your coffee table. Or rearrange them on the bookshelf, so they’re easy to find.

You can also ask your kids to do a few new drawings and add those to your fridge collection. Why not ask them to draw your monthly calendar or a template to keep your shopping to-do list.

Give it a Good Scrub

Cleaning your entire house will not only add some sparkle. A clean home is beneficial to your health.

Spring cleaning is known to clear the dust and alleviate allergies. When you go all out and do a regular deep clean, it can lead to a stronger immune system.

Spotless and decluttered spaces are also associated with better moods and can bring relief from stress and anxiety. Your list of cleaning tasks should include carpets, curtains, and all your linen. Don’t forget to wipe down the walls and get up on a ladder to reach the light fittings and ceiling.

If you’re finding things you’ve not used for years, get rid of them. Apart from the enjoyment, you’ll get from donating your unused items to a worthy cause, you’ll be giving someone else an item they need.

Go for Greenery

Head out to your garden and bring some of the lush green goodness indoors. Fresh cut flowers and foliage from your grounds adds a beautiful touch. 

You can bring the colors of the season into your space and get creative with branches or other outdoor elements like rocks, stones, or seeds. If you don’t have a garden, you can always add a natural touch with a colorful fruit bowl or brightly colored veggies on display.

Key Takeouts

You don’t have to spend a single dollar to revive your home. Create a homely atmosphere by adding a few personal touches or making a few readjustments.

Fix the obvious eyesores, give it a good clean, and you’re set for a happy and healthy abode. 

5 Things Real Estate Agents Don’t Want You to Know

Selling real estate is one of the most expensive financial decisions most people ever make. Due to the high monetary stakes, many people look for a real estate agent to guide them through the process, but before diving in and calling just any agent, there are some things you should be aware of. Here are 5 things real estate agents don’t want you to know. 

Agents don’t want you to know: The MLS has lost its power

One of the biggest advantages to selling a property with a real estate agent is their access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Before the days of the internet, the local MLS was the only location where all for sale properties were posted and the information was only available to licensed real estate agents. While the MLS system is still used today, it has been largely democratized by large listing portals like Zillow or Realtor.com. In fact, these portals tend to have direct relationships with MLS organizations meaning that the portals get property information almost as quickly as real estate agents can. If you list your property with a real estate agent, you can request that they add your property to these portals for you however if you choose to sell on your own, listing on these portals is free. 

Agents don’t want to you know: Many properties sell themselves

The real estate industry is HOT right now. Even with the financial and societal chaos caused by COVID-19, cities across the US are reporting a sellers market with a lot of competition among buyers. Many real estate agents are hardworking professionals who will do the necessary work to properly position your property for success. They take good photos, write compelling descriptions, and do additional marketing to get your property as many offers as possible, but in this market many properties will sell quickly without that professional touch. 

Agents don’t want you to know: Not every agent offers the same service

Agents don’t all offer the same service when listing a property. Some real estate agents offer professional photography and drone images as part of their basic service. Others offer staging or guidance on how to improve the curb appeal of a property. Yet others don’t offer any of these services or require additional payment or fees to cover these charges. When looking for a real estate agent to sell your property, make sure you ask exactly what services they will provide. 

Agents don’t want you to know: Beware of dual agency

No matter if you’re buying or selling real estate, you want to work with someone who has your best interests in mind. As a buyer it may seem obvious to call the phone number on the real estate listing or sign, but that’s not always the best idea. Listing agents have what’s called fiduciary duty to the sellers meaning that even if an agent is working with both the buyer and the seller in a real estate sale, all choices they make must be for the best interest of the seller. As a seller, this might seem like a good thing. You have the “in” with the agent on the other side of a deal, but this can also work against sellers. While an ethical agent wouldn’t do this, there are cases where an agent encourages a seller to accept an offer from that agent’s buyer client — even if it might not be the highest or best offer. 

Agents don’t want you to know: You can negotiate rates

Using an agent to purchase real estate costs nothing, but sellers can expect to pay an average of 6% of the sale price of the home in commission to their real estate agent. When a property is sold, a commission is paid to the listing agent (the agent who represents the property). The listing agent then pays the agent who represented the buyer as a “thank you” of sorts for bringing a buyer to the property. As a seller, you are able to negotiate the percentage of your sale price that you are willing to pay. 

Looking for an easier way to get a discount when selling real estate? While some agents and real estate brokerages offer discounted rates for discounted service, RealtyHive has created a program that negotiates with agents on your behalf to get you a discounted rate with full service. This program is available for any property almost anywhere in the US and helps sellers save thousands of dollars in real estate commissions with absolutely no cost to them. Interested in buying? Contact RealtyHive to connect with an agent who will save you money when buying your next property!

DIY Backyard Fun

During this time of restricted social interaction the more fun we’re able to have at home the better. The goal of this article is to show you some easy and cheap ways to have fun right in your own backyard. Depending on how many of these DIY projects you choose to take on, your backyard may end up resembling more of a small carnival rather than a backyard. Personally, that seems like something worth bragging rights to me, but if you don’t hope to reach small carnival status then maybe just one or two on a sunny day will do. 

Giant Jenga

Jenga is pretty popular so I won’t bore you with an explanation of the game. I will simply tell you one way to improve the game, and that is to make it giant. This oversized outdoor game is cheap, easy to recreate, and tons of fun! So if you’re ready to kick some butt at Jenga below!

Instructions here!

Slingshot/ Angry Birds IRL

I’m sure we’ve all heard of the game Angry Birds, but if you haven’t let me summarize. It’s an iPhone game where you aim and shoot little colorful birds at piled up boxes with mean looking pigs sitting on them. If you’ve never heard of the game you probably think I’ve completely lost it, but I promise it’s a thing. So much so that a smart parent created a real life version of the game. This is the perfect outdoor game to get the kids off their phone and out in the sun!

Instructions here!

Jungle Gym Bars

This was my personal favorite activity as kids so i can assure you the kids will love it. When I was young I spent all my time doing flips forwards and backwards on the bars.  I swear I thought I was Simone Biles or something. This DIY project isn’t just affordable it’s also an excellent way to keep the kids active. As a former child, I highly recommend it.

Instructions here!

Backyard Big Screen

A pandemic is probably not best time to sit in a room filled by strangers. That being said, it is probably best to move the movies to the backyard. This genius DIY outdoor theatre project is a perfect activity for the family during this time of  quarantine. 

Instructions here!

Kerplunk

Kerplunk is a classic, but there’s a chance you haven’t heard of it so I’ll explain just to make sure we’re all on the same page. Each player upon their turn removes a stick from the tube, if any balls fall they go to that players total. When all the balls have fallen, the person with the smallest number (least amount of balls fallen) wins. This is a very easy game to recreate and it’s lots of fun with the family or with friends!

Instructions here!

Slip-n-slide Kickball

I’m confident we’ve all played kickball, but this isn’t just kickball, this is slip-n-slide kickball which is obviously superior. Same rules apply, but instead of running across a base you get to slide into a kiddie pool. Hot summer day? This would be the perfect activity for the family or the neighborhood kids to enjoy! Don’t believe me? Try it out!

Instructions here!

Squares game

The squares game isn’t as popular as other games in this article so I will briefly explain. Players take turns making a line from one dot to another(not diagonally). If when you put down the line that creates a complete square you get a point. Players continue to play until no further squares can be made, and at that point the person with the most points wins! This is a fun and easily storable game that you can play with kids or friends!

Instructions here!

Outdoor Chalkboard

Kids love to draw… half the time we can’t tell what it is they’re drawing but as long as they’re entertained it doesn’t really matter does it? Plus this is an easy way to get the kids their daily Vitamin D and it keeps them from getting any mess inside, so a win-win situation if you ask me. This easy DIY project would make a great addition to the “fun backyard”

Instructions here!

Lawn Twister

Twister is the epitome of fun children games. I played Twister all the time as a kid, and I personally sucked, lost just about every game. Regardless, I loved the game and I’m confident your kids will too!  I should also mention this is one of the easiest DIY projects in this article, so even if it’s just for a day or an event, I think it’s worth it. I wish you much more success in the game than I had!

Instructions here!

DIY Dunk Tank

Have you ever seen a dunk tank on a TV show and had major dunk tank envy? I first saw a dunk tank on an episode of George Lopez and I remember having a strong desire to experience a dunk tank. Both to be the dunkee and the dunker. In fact, at the time I had a short list of people I’d like to dunk. If you can relate, get your list out, send an invitation because our dunk tank dreams are now a reality.

Instructions here!

Velcro Darts

Just 3 pieces of fabric and a hot glue gun and you’re good to go! This DIY project is such an easy way to bring a fun atmosphere to your backyard. This game is easy for everyone and anyone to play even the kids (since we’ve taken out the sharp/pointy darts)!

Instructions here!

Football Throw

I’m from Green Bay, Wisconsin, so football is kinda a big deal here. That being said I felt a need to add this into the article, because maybe it will help breed the next Aaron Rodgers. This isn’t the easiest DIY project but it can be done in various levels of complexity. It can be as easy as cutting holes in a sheet to a nicely decorated board such as this one above. Whichever level you choose, this activity can either be target practice or just a fun pass time.

Instructions here!

Rainbow fire crystals

This one isn’t necessarily a DIY project, it’s more of a fun product. I want to type “Your little kids will love the fun colored flames!”, but in all honesty… I’d love it too. When I first saw a color flamed fire I was overly mesmerized and excited. So with that said, I can personally recommend this product to you. It will add a little character and color to your backyard!

Product available here!

These are the perfect activities to stay entertained while social distancing and spending time with family or friends. Quite honestly, that quality time with the family is probably worth the prices to make these affordable DIY projects. If you do find yourself attempting one of these projects, we’d love to hear about your results! Feel free to leave a comment below about how it went for you and any helpful tip for future readers!

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Seller FAQs: Rentbacks, Exclusive Listing Contracts & More

You’ve got questions about selling your house, we’ve got answers. Sift through some commonly asked seller questions (and feel free to comment with any additional questions you might have!).

How do I sell my home?

To sell your home, first decide if you want a real estate agent or to sell on your own (FSBO). A real estate agent takes care of practically everything for you but costs money, FSBO could save you some money (not a guarantee) but it’s more work.

If you opt for FSBO and decide not to find an agent, you’ll need to research selling prices in your area, find paperwork that’s specific to your state, stage your home, take photos and find a listing platform. Don’t let this one-sentence blurb fool you — it’s a lot of work.

What are the benefits of working with a real estate agent?

Agents can get your property into the local MLS and have a lot of connections. They know of people who are looking to buy, they work with other agents — their network alone can make a massive difference.

Agents are also good at setting your listing price by pulling comps to see recent, local selling prices. They’ll help you with closing paperwork, which is notoriously complicated. In a lot of ways, the right agent could actually get you more money for your property through their industry knowledge and connections — you could get a better deal than if you were to sell on your own.

What if the contract with my agent expires before my house sells?

You can look into renewing your contract, but there’s a good chance you’ll want to let it run its course if your house didn’t sell while working with them.

One thing to keep in mind: there’s a good chance you might still owe them commission even after their contract expires. Every contract has a commission protection period, so if a person looked at your house, then waited until the contract expired to put in an offer, they (as the buyer) would be a named exception. In this instance, the agent would still get commission.

If someone completely new and different comes in to look after the agent contract expires, the agent won’t get commission.

Can I hire more than one real estate agent?

Unless the real estate agents are working as a team, you usually can’t hire more than one. However, this depends on where your property is that you’re selling:

  • Exclusive listing contracts: In the US, only one agent can present the property for sale.
  • Non-exclusive listing contracts: Found around the world but pretty typical in the Caribbean and Central America. Many agents present your international property for sale, the only agent or person who gets paid is the one who brings the buyer.
    This is also sometimes called a non-exclusive listing agreement.

How do I make sure my house sells?

Other than making your home look desirable, every seller needs to provide the proper real estate marketing to amp up exposure. DIY marketing is a lot to take on, but it can work for some sellers. 

If you want to save yourself the hassle (or if your home isn’t selling), work with a company that lists your property AND provides marketing. RealtyHive offers both and when you list with us, you won’t pay for marketing until your house sells.

How do I set the right selling price for my house?

An agent will help you find out how much your house is worth, but if you’re selling your house on your own then here are some things you’ll need to consider:

  • Comparable sales (comps)
  • Home appraisal
  • Property renovations, upgrades, or unique/valuable characteristics
  • Tax appraisals

If you’re not sure about finding an agent, list with RealtyHive. We offer equity checks to get the right property price for your home before putting it in a time-limited event.

When is a bad time to sell my property?

A common real estate myth is that it’s a bad idea to list your property in the fall or winter, but there’s really not a bad season. In fact, selling in the “off season” can actually narrow down the competition.

One thing to pay attention to is market rates. If you don’t have to sell your property (ex. you aren’t moving) you should keep an eye on the current housing rate. Biting the bullet and listing when mortgage interest rates are low can work in your favor; selling when a city is on the verge of booming can become a regret.

What happens if my property sells before I’m ready?

Try to coordinate your buying and selling. If you sell first and don’t have a new house bought yet, you’ll want to look into renting and putting stuff into storage until you close on a new place. If you bought a house but your current one isn’t selling, keep in mind that you’ll have to manage two mortgage payments until your current place sells.

The other option is a rent-back, which we’ll get into just below.

What is a rent-back?

Rent-backs allow you to stay in your home even after it sells, until a specific date, on the condition that you pay rent to the new owners of the home. It’s basically like renting the home you had previously owned. 

In order to make this happen, you need to see if the new owners are open to it (they might say no because they might be in the same predicament of needing a place to live). If they agree, a security deposit will be set up and you’ll essentially lease your place from the new owners.

Hopefully we were able to answer some pertinent seller questions, but if you’re still looking for some, sift through our blog for further resources or ask us in the comments!

Agent Disclosure: What Buyers Need to Know

If chefs make their own Denver omelettes at home on a Sunday and professional musicians sing in the shower for their own fun, can real estate agents sell their own property?

Through agent disclosure, the answer is yes, they can. However, buyers should be on the lookout — some agents try to not disclose this information to their own advantage.

What is an agent disclosure?

Agents are allowed to sell their own property, but licensed real estate agents are required to let the buyers know. They must disclose this in writing to the purchaser of the property. Even if their license is no longer valid and/or expired, they are “strongly encouraged” to reveal this to potential buyers.

Referral fees (and how they’re tricky)

As we’ve mentioned in another blog, agents get referral fees when they refer another agent to complete a transaction — basically like a finder’s fee. They receive 3% commission without having to do any of the work, solely just from referring another agent.

In regards to selling their own homes, agents will sometimes use this referral procedure to their advantage. Here’s how this often plays out:

  • Margaret is a real estate agent who’s selling her house.
  • Instead of providing agent disclosure, she gets her friend and Realtor Micah to be the agent.
  • Micah does all the work to get Margaret’s property to sell.
  • Margaret, having never disclosed but simply referred, gets a percentage of Micah’s commission because of referral fees.

The takeaway here is that even if a seller doesn’t disclose that they’re a real estate agent, they might still be one. And they might have added incentives that give them more of a cut.

How can I find out about agent disclosure?

Do not call the listing agent.

When you see a property you’re interested in, work with your own agent. Never call the number that’s listed on the “For Sale” sign.

Ask the real estate agent.

If they don’t disclose their connection to the property over the course of a house tour and meeting with you, make sure you ask them. 

Do some research.

If for some reason you have a weird feeling, aren’t convinced, or just genuinely want to make sure you’re in the know, do a quick Google search of real estate agents in your area. 

What if the seller doesn’t tell me they’re a real estate agent?

Report them to the state real estate board. They’ve broken a code of ethics and could face loss of commission, or even having their license revoked.

For the record, not every real estate agent does this. There are plenty of agents who are always putting the client’s best interests first. If you truly want to play it as safe as possible, use Cashifyd to find a trusted agent in your area. Not only does Cashifyd connect you with a real estate agent, you’ll even get a cashback credit at closing for using it! Take charge and get your own referral fees with Cashifyd — and stay on the lookout for agent and other seller disclosures.