Wayne Semprini's Blog
Real estate investing is a powerful way to build wealth, as investors can take advantage of rent payments, appreciation, tax deductions and leverage. Additionally, there are lots of properties to invest in. If you’re starting to explore real estate as an investment opportunity, here are five types of properties and why you might invest in each.
Single-Family Houses: Starter Investments
Many individuals first get into real estate investing with single-family homes. There are many of these for sale, and they tend to cost less than the other property types mentioned here. Whether you want to flip properties or rent them out, a single-family home lets you get into real estate at an affordable price and you can learn a lot from owning just one house.
Small Multi-Family Houses: Greater Cash Flow
Small multi-family houses are a natural step after owning a single-family home, for multi-family properties offer better cash flow while still remaining manageable. Many landlords who invest in small multi-family buildings that have two to five units manage these properties themselves (although you can always outsource to a property management company as well).
Apartment Complexes: Significant Income Potential
If you have the necessary financial resources, apartment complexes offer even greater income potential than small multi-family homes. The more units a complex has, the more people pay rent and the greater the potential revenue. Of course, this increased potential comes with additional challenges. Expect to maintain amenities and answer regular service calls if you get a sizeable apartment complex.
Vacation Homes: Dual-Purpose Income Properties
With the advent of peer-to-peer online platforms, vacation homes have become an increasingly popular type of investment property. These include lake houses, ski houses and ranches, as well as apartments and townhomes in cities that have regular short-term visitors. In short, anywhere there’s a campground or hotel, a vacation home might be viable.
Vacation homes are unique in that they focus on short-term rentals rather than long-term leases. While this means the place must be cleaned between each reservation, it also gives you the flexibility to block off times when friends or family want to use the place.
Commercial Properties: Sizeable Investment Potential
An alternative to residential properties, you can also invest in commercial properties. You may have to be an accredited investor (earn $250,000 annually or have a $1 million net worth) to get into commercial real estate. If you’re able to, though, these properties offer diversity and significant long-term potential.
Most of the time, we build homes to our taste rather than to their environment. And while it’s important to have a home that you love to look at, it’s also necessary to take your local climate and surroundings into account.
One of the best up-and-coming home architecture styles features something called “passive solar” design.
In today’s post, I’m going to introduce you to passive solar and talk about why so many homeowners are choosing passive solar homes in today’s age of rising energy costs.
What is a passive solar home?
Passive solar homes utilize four main things to ensure the lowest possible energy usage:
The building site
The area’s climate and weather
Strict building standards involving top quality materials and airtight construction
Let’s talk a bit about how these three features help make passive solar homes the most energy efficient homes currently available.
Choosing a site for a passive home can be a complicated and scientific endeavor. In colder climates, this means allowing the home to utilize as much sunlight as possible. The building site, therefore, has to take into account the sun’s path throughout the year to provide the home with the best angles for maximum sunlight.
Since sunlight travels lower on the horizon in the winter months and higher in summer months, roofs and overhangs are designed to let in maximum light in the winter time and block out light that would overheat your home in the summertime.
Airflow throughout your home is vital to maintaining comfortable temperatures year-round. Passive homes rely on a heat exchanger system that uses heat from warm areas of your home to heat air that is vented in from the outside.
This means that the air in your home is constantly being circulated and heated without relying on too many outside sources.
Building materials are another key part to passive solar homes. To make an airtight home, special types of sealing and insulation is used.
Furthermore, insulated areas of your home are designed to absorb sunlight throughout the day and slowly release heat after the sun goes down, providing a natural source of heat for the entire 24 hour cycle.
Can I convert my current house into a passive solar home?
While making a home adhere to passive house standards typically requires planning at the construction phase, there are some ways to utilize passive solar techniques in your current home.
Making your home airtight, using thermal mass to slowly heat your home overnight, and taking advantage of heat from the sun are all things that can be retrofitted to a home.
Making these improvements can take time, especially if you plan to change window locations or build an overhanging roof. However, you might find that the upgrades will save you money on energy costs and add to the resale value of your home.
The right home security system can make a profound difference for your peace of mind and make your home an unappealing target -- but do you have to go with a conventional (and expensive) alarm service? In the past, homeowners had few choices, but now, if you own a home and like to DIY you have more options than ever before when it comes to home security. Is a DIY home security system right for you -- or are you better off with the traditional model? Consider these factors as you determine the best way to protect your home.
DIY vs. Conventional Alarm Services
While the installation and monitoring may differ, both DIY and conventional systems share some factors; both offer wireless connections and monitoring points, both improve the overall security of your home and both can be installed in a day or less. The differences lie in the overall cost, commitment and approach to monitoring.
A DIY Alarm Service is Right for You If:
You are handy: If you can do basic home repairs and set up your DVD player or smart-home technology, you have the skills needed to install a DIY alarm system. Alarms used to be very complex and require electrical knowledge. Today's systems are fast and easy to install with the tools you probably have on hand.
You're wary of contracts: One of the primary consumer complaints about alarm companies in general involves not service, but contracts. Being locked in for a long period of time takes away some of your flexibility. If you move and you have a monitoring contract, you either have to pay to have your system relocated or continue paying for a service you no longer use. Since DIY systems don't require equipment rental or contracts, they are more flexible and forgiving.
You're on a budget: When you work with a DIY brand, you can buy just what you need, and you'll spend less on equipment and installation. A national brand will charge you for equipment, installation and even ongoing protection fees, making them a more expensive option.
Since the actual monthly service is very similar, most families benefit from opting for DIY systems. There are a few exceptions. If you have a very large home with many entry points, are unable to do the work needed to install the system or you need more monitoring features, then a traditional system might work. Seniors with limited mobility may have more needs than a growing family or a single individual, and may prefer the all-in-one service offered by a conventional brand. Anyone else can benefit from the low costs and convenience of DIY security systems.
Reviewing your options allows you to choose the best possible alarm service for your home and family -- and the one that has the perfect balance of cost, commitment and coverage to protect your home.
Are you getting ready to add your house to the real estate market? Before you list your residence, it may be worthwhile to interview several real estate agents.
Hiring the right real estate agent can make a world of difference for any home seller, at any time. In fact, with the right real estate agent at your disposal, you can increase the likelihood of a quick, seamless and profitable home selling experience.
Ultimately, there are many reasons to interview various real estate agents prior to listing your home, and these include:
1. You can find a real estate agent who makes you feel comfortable.
It's one thing to read a real estate agent's online profile; it's another to actually sit down, interview a real estate agent and find out whether you're comfortable working with this housing market professional.
When it comes to finding a real estate agent to help you sell your home, nothing beats a face-to-face interview. This meeting will enable you to learn about a real estate agent's personality and demeanor and ask this person how he or she will approach the process of selling your home.
Setting up meetings with several real estate agents will enable you to evaluate a wide range of housing market professionals. Then, you can select a real estate agent who makes you feel good about the home selling process.
2. You can employ a real estate agent with extensive industry experience.
Allocating the necessary time and resources to assess a real estate agent's experience is paramount. That way, you can find out if a real estate agent has what it takes to sell your home and optimize its value.
With several real estate agent interviews, you can evaluate multiple housing market professionals and their respective industry experience. As a result, you'll be better equipped than ever before to hire a real estate expert to help you sell your residence.
3. You can work with a real estate agent who won't take "No" for an answer.
The right real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to assist you in any way possible. If you meet with multiple real estate agents, you can find one who is dedicated to excellence in everything that he or she does.
Ideally, you should try to hire a real estate agent who is persistent and pays attention to even the minor details. This housing market professional won't take "No" for an answer, and as such, can help you overcome myriad challenges throughout the home selling process.
Of course, during real estate agent interviews, you should ask a housing market professional how he or she handles tough situations. Whether it's a difficult negotiation with a homebuyer or a slow housing market, the right real estate agent will know how to handle adversity time and time again.
Kick off real estate agent interviews today – you'll be glad you did. And once you find the right real estate agent, you should have no trouble listing your home and getting the best price for it.
If you’re looking to buy a new home anytime soon, getting your finances in order is an excellent first step to getting the keys to your dream property. No matter where you want to buy a home, your financial picture is the most critical aspect of buying a home. Read on for some tips to get you financially prepared to buy a house.
Set A Savings Goal
Buying a property will require a significant amount of money up front. From closing costs to the down payment, you need to set a specific amount to save up before you even get out on the house hunt.
Break your savings goal down by month over a yearly number if you have multiple years before you buy.
Have A Specific Account For Savings
If you don’t see it, you won’t spend it. Tuck all of your savings in one account. Use automatic transfers to make saving from your paycheck easier and seamless. Before you even check your account, you’re on your way to your savings goals. You may not want to keep your money in higher yield accounts. These may not allow you to take the money out when you need it. Take the time to shop interest rates on savings accounts at different banks. Some may even offer a bonus. Just remember always to pay yourself first. Don’t be tempted to spend the money that you have saved.
Rethink Your Budget
Depending on the amount that you want to save to buy a home, you may need to cut costs significantly. Take the time to do a budget and see where you may be able to cut down on costs. Should you cut the cord on cable? Are you going out to restaurants too often? Another idea is to call your phone company and other utility providers and ask about discounts. You may need to make some lifestyle and budgeting adjustments in order to get on your way to your dream home.
Use Gifts Wisely
Did you get a big Christmas bonus from work? Did a relative give you a monetary gift for your birthday? Take all of the extra cash and stash it away in the account that’s dedicated to your home savings. It will only help you to achieve your goals faster.
Keep Your Accounts Stable
Before your loan can close and the keys to your dream home are yours, you’ll need to make sure you don’t make any significant purchases. You need a paper trail for all of your money. Before you buy a home is not the time to go nuts and buy furniture or buy a car. These things can affect both your credit and debt-to-income-ratio.