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How to Prepare to Buy Your First Home
Posted on Sat, 10 Jun 2017, 10:45:00 AM  in Home buying tips
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One of the most exciting steps to take as an adult is to purchase your first home. Home ownership is considered to be a wise investment that can pay off in future years. When you want to prepare to buy your first home, you'll need to follow a few tips.

 

Save for the Down Payment

You'll need a down payment to purchase a home to secure the purchase. The amount of money that you save will influence how much you pay on your mortgage each month, making it necessary to set aside as much as possible. The type of loan that you choose will also influence the minimum amount of money that you'll need for the down payment. Most people save five to 20 percent of the selling price of the home.

 

Secure Your Employmenthow to prepare for your first home

You'll need to have a record of steady employment before you apply for a home loan. Lenders will want to trust that you'll be capable of making the payments each month and that you won't get behind with the amount of money that you owe. You'll need to have at least one year of work from the same employer to be taken seriously with your loan application. Avoid changing jobs after submitting the application and don't become self-employed, which can cause you to be turned down for a home loan.

 

It's also necessary to calculate your debt-income ratio, which will affect how much you can afford. Pay off as much debt as possible before you submit the loan to ensure that you can borrow more money.

 

Determine Your Budget

Knowing your budget is essential to finding the right home to purchase before you begin to shop around. You'll need to add up all of your income for your household, which can include side jobs that you work. Multiply the amount by two or three or calculate 30 percent of your gross income to get an idea of what you can afford. You'll also need to take other costs of home ownership into consideration, which includes property taxes, repairs, and association fees. The interest rate that you lock in will also affect the overall price of the house, along with the term that you select. You may want to wait to purchase the home during certain times of the year when interest rates may drop.

 

It's also important to set aside extra money for the cost of new furniture, window treatments, and appliances that you'll need to purchase after moving into the property.

 

Increase Your Credit Score

Lenders will take a close look at your credit score to determine if you have a good history with repaying your debt and managing your money. Your credit score will increase if you make your payments on time on your loans or credit cards. Paying off the balances and utilizing 20 percent of the available balance will also boost the score. You can lock in a lower interest rate if you increase your credit score, which can save hundreds to thousands of dollars each year on your mortgage payment.

 

You'll also want to remove errors that are present on your credit history. Credit bureaus are prone to making mistakes or confusing your name with another individual that has a credit history.

 

When you're ready to purchase your first home, you can have a smooth and successful process with the right steps taken. By planning and preparing ahead of time, you can have peace of mind knowing that you'll find the perfect starter home to call your own.


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Get Answers To These Questions Before Buying Your Next House
Posted on Thu, 20 Apr 2017, 12:55:00 PM  in Home buying tips
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What Is The Price? And Is It Up For Negotiation?Get Answers To These Questions Before Buying Your Next House

When you start looking for a house, there are a few questions you may wish to answer prior to your search. You will definitely want to determine how much money have you have to put towards a downpayment. You’ll also want to take into consideration what your household income would be and what expenses will take away from the budget. After those calculations, you’ll need to figure out what your price point will be. If you’re looking for a house, then you likely gave your maximum price to the sales representative. Try giving them just a bit under to give yourself some wiggle room in the budget. If you find a house at the top of your range, ask if the price is firm or if it is up for negotiation.

 

What Type of Heating and Water Are In The House?

It may not seem like a big deal to ask what sort of heating and water are running through the house, but it could make a difference. Electric heating could drive up your electric bill, for example. If the power goes out on a cold winter day, then you will be left without heat if you have electric heating. The water that runs throughout the house is just as important as the heat that warms the house. Depending on the area that you live in, you may only have one choice. It is important for you to know what problems city water faces if you find a home with city water running through it. Well water has its own set of pros and cons depending on what condition the soil is in in your area.

 

How Many Acres Of Land Come With The House?

There are many instances where a home is for sale and it appears to have more land attached than what actually comes with the house. Maybe the house and its property merge seamlessly with a forest or a river. Whatever the case may be, make sure that you know how many acres you are entitled to when you make the purchase. There is little worse than destroying or redesigning property that is not yours and having another person take legal action against you.

 

Is There Any Damage To The Roof, Furnace, Pipes, Or Wiring?

Damage to the roof, furnace, pipes, and wiring are all serious concerns to have. These can be very costly repairs. When buying a house, make sure that these areas have all been inspected and that a condition has been reported. If any of these areas need repair, assess what exactly needs to be done and what it will cost to be done well. If you are able to make these repairs, consider asking the seller if they would lower the price to compensate for these repairs.

 

When Can I Move Into The House Once I Buy?

Are you looking for a home that is move-in ready or are you searching for a home that you can move into in a few weeks or months? Are you looking for a fixer upper and have a deadline that you would like to meet? Take all of these questions into consideration when you are looking. It is possible that you would like to move into your dream home right away and the family that is currently living there needs at least a month to complete school, move out, or buy their next house.


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What To Ask When Buying A House?
Posted on Fri, 10 Mar 2017, 02:40:00 PM  in Home buying tips
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Are you buying a new Canadian house? Well, you are sure to find the questions below helpful when searching for the perfect house for you and your family. Remember, above all, enjoy this process.

 What To Ask When Buying A House?

What Is The House Worth?

This is your way of knowing the difference between what the house has been listed for and what it is truly worth. Most of the time the house will be listed for slightly less than it is worth to increase the traffic and number of offers. Many people want to sell their house sooner than later and the price is often a reflection of that. If you find a house that is selling for what it is worth or more, then you have to ask yourself if it is something you are willing to pay. Maybe it is, and maybe there are better options for you. In any case, you deserve to know.

 

What Are Your Qualifications?

Always ask your agent what their qualifications are. They should be able to tell you. They may even have a portfolio that you can look at. Make sure to check for a license that is in good standing, recommendations, and a list of outstanding work. The bottom line? Make sure, in whatever way you have to, that you aren’t getting scammed.

 

When Can I Move In?

Let the agent know when you would like to move in and see if that fits with the seller’s agenda and timeline. You don’t want to buy a house that you have to wait too long to get into. It is a sure-fire sign that something is wrong.

 

How Are The Neighbors? Is The Neighborhood Nice?

You have to ask yourself and your agent why the previous owners moved out. Were the neighbors obnoxious or was it for a reason outside of their environmental control? Check out the neighborhood and make sure that you feel safe living there. Talk to the neighbors and see what kind of people they are. Can you still see yourself living there?

 

Will There Be Opportunities Here?

Will you have the option to get a new job if you have to? Are the medical facilities in top working condition and offering excellent care to their patients? Do the schools reflect your values? Put together a list of the opportunities you need to have, and then compare them with what your agent says is available.

 

Is The Price Negotiable?

Always ask if the price of the house is negotiable. If the house has not received many offers and the price is negotiable, move on. It will be a miserable process for you if you dont. If they house is getting competitive offers at its selling price, then be prepared to be flexible in what you pay if you really want the house.

 

Is There Anything Else I Should Know?

Take this opportunity to give your agent time to let you know about the different features of the house. Ask about the wildlife. Ask about the appliances. Ask about the schools, hospitals, restaurants, and neighbors. Just do not forget to ask about any additional information that they can provide for you. Often times, this question can make or break an otherwise perfect sale.

Make sure that you are reading into whatever your real estate agent is telling you. Get a feel for whether or not you feel their words are trustworthy. Lastly, get to know exactly what you are getting into.


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True Buyer's Market
Posted on Fri, 10 Feb 2017, 09:45:00 AM  in Marketing strategies
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When is perhaps one of the worst times to try and sell a home in Canada, or in any other place, for that matter? I will tell you. Around the holiday season, my friend, is perhaps the worst time. People have been proven statistically to not really be in any search for a home during this time. This usually comes a bit after the holidays, sometime around early spring and especially in the summer.True Buyers Market

Did you know that the state of the current market can affect the condition of your search to either buy or sell a home? It is true, and there is nothing with quite the same effect and influence on your decision making process as a whole. There's nothing quite like both researching and knowing well the state of the current markets, its conditions and its up down volatility, as locals call it. Whether you are trying to do business here in the Quebec or Ontario area, or even further down south, you need to study and do current research on the housing trends of the area. If you do so first, then you may decide whether buying or listing a home for sale in that area is the right decision for you at this particular given moment in time; timing is everything as well, and it may make or break a deal, as they say.

"The amount of active buyers will be somewhat dictated by the condition of the local market – for instance, a seller's market will typically see more buyer foot traffic at any point during the year when compared to a buyer or balanced market. With that said, many people simply stop looking for homes...." (http://www.canadianrealestatemagazine.ca/expert-advice/how-to-sell-a-home-leading-up-to-the-holidays-199224.aspx, pg. 1, para. 4)

In terms of practicality when choosing to sell your home, for example, there are a few practical chops of advice that can be given to either any first-time rookie or even a more seasoned home seller in general. Such portions of advice are wise to consume and must be taken with a respective grain of salt. As such, let us continue. First of all, a truly experienced realtorŪ is always a major plus in any book, and choosing to work with someone of quality and proven expertise may just be what you need in order to get that home sold within a matter of mere days. It is really that simple, and there is no added rocket science to the process.

Having a professional realtorŪ will not only bring experience to the forefront of your very battle, but it will also help to increase your sale profit off of the home significantly and connect you with other people and resources in the business. After all, you never know who you may meet in this industry that ends up becoming a life-long connection and invaluable resource to you for years to come. Is that not what it is all about in the end, connecting with people and helping others to likewise achieve their own unique goals and dreams in the process? I argue that it is, and real estate done properly is but another way to accomplish this very important personal task.

Selling one's home without an agent or a REALTORŪ can be a pain in the neck, and no one should have the burden of carrying that weight all alone. A few other practical pointers include knowing when potential buyers may come by and see the home. You need to always be ready for this, and stay in the nearby area just in case they may have questions about certain aspects of any room.


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4 Key Considerations When Purchasing a New Home
Posted on Tue, 10 May 2016, 09:40:00 AM  in Home buying tips,  Marketing strategies,  My services
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Buying a new home can be one of the most exciting times of your life. You get to step out of the rental game and into the game of being in charge of everything relating to your new home. You no longer have to rely on a landlord to approve repairs that need to be done. Home ownership is truly something that you have to experience for yourself to understand just how amazing it can be. If you are ready to take the leap and own your own home, there are a few things that you need to consider when purchasing a new home.


Room for Expansion
Just because there are only two of you right now, that doesn’t mean you won’t expand your family to four or six of you. The last thing you want to do is go out and purchase a one-bedroom home if you are planning on having children. You could end up struggling to sell your home quick enough to step into another one that gives you room to grow. Choose your new home based on how large you would like your family to be. Consider going with something that is at least one to two bedrooms larger than what you need right now.new owners This will save you a lot of hassle down the line.

Work Commute
Another thing to consider is how far the home is from your workplace. You don’t want to choose a home that is going to make you spend a couple hours commuting one way to work. You want to be within a reasonable distance. If you are planning on quitting your job and looking for employment elsewhere, consider the location where you want to be. Spending too long on your commute is only going to end up stressing you out down the road. You want to minimize commute time and maximize time spent with loved ones.

Functionality
Many people don’t think about the layout of the home they are looking to purchase. They like the aesthetic appeal or location of the home. While these things are important too, you also need to make sure the layout is going to work for your needs. If you have younger children, you might want to go with a ranch style home where all of the bedrooms are on the same floor. With teenagers in the home, a two-story often works great. This gives you privacy and them privacy as well. 

Features
Just about everyone has something that their new home has to have. Whether it be a large closet, over-sized kitchen or something else, you want to make sure that your new space has everything you need and more. The last thing you want to do is settle on a home that you aren’t going to be happy with in a few years. Your home should be a place where you can enjoy spending years of your life. Otherwise, you need to rethink whether it really is the right home for you or not. Someone with allergies shouldn’t go with a home that is completely carpeted, unless you want to go through and do a bunch of remodeling right off the bat. 

By taking the time to go through the things above, you can make sure you get everything you need in your new home. This will save you a lot of money and time when it comes to your new home. Only look for those things you need and stay away from the things that you don’t. in the end, you will come out with a stunning new home that you can enjoy for quite some time.

 


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How to Check Your New Neighborhood Before You Buy
Posted on Wed, 30 Mar 2016, 11:50:00 AM  in Marketing strategies,  My services
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As much as you might love a home for sale you find online, you may not love the neighborhood nearly as much as you love the house. Many first time home buyers make the mistake of purchasing a home without giving any thought to the area around that house. You never know when your neighbors might throw loud parties on the weekends, what the area looks like after dark or even how safe you feel in your new home. Before you put in an offer, find out how you can check out your new neighborhood before you buy.

Take a Daytime Tour
After finding a house that you like, take a daytime tour of the neighborhood. Drive around the few blocks surrounding the home and go a few blocks further. Get a feel for what the community is really like and what there is to do in the area. You'll want to look at local parks, see how far away the grocery store is and how close you are to the fire department, police department and even hospital. 

Plan a Nighttime Visit
Even the best neighborhood can look a little different when the sun sets, which is why it's so important that you take the time to visit neighborsafter dark. While there is no need to visit in the middle of the night, you will want to visit after eight pm. See how safe and comfortable you feel in that neighborhood after dark. You may find that you don't like seeing the parties your neighbors throw or the people you see loitering on the street. You may even find that the lights lining the street don't work.

Talk with Your Potential Neighbors
One of the best ways to find out if the neighborhood is right for you is with a simple visit to your prospective new neighbors. Take the time to chat with those living right next to the home and others living on the same block. Ask them how long they lived in the neighborhood, how they feel about the community and if there are any things they don't like about living there. If you come across families who lived there for years, ask them about the house itself as well. You may get some information that the current owners didn't share with you.

Check with Google
Google offers its own map system online that lets you zoom in and see what the area looks like from the street. You can use Google in combination with your own visits to get a better look at the community. Put in the address, pan around the street and pay close attention to any potential problems you may find. Google may show you that some of your neighbors have large swimming pools without fences, that they raise different animals or even that they own multiple cars that will take up valuable space on the street.

Look at Nearby Homes
As you learn more about your new neighborhood, pay special attention to the way that surrounding homes look. Are the homes clean and in good condition? You might find that some of your new neighbors let their lawns grow wild, leave kids' toys scattered across the lawn or do a lot of car work in their driveways. You need to ask yourself if you can handle living next to homes that look that way and be around those neighbors. No matter how great a home looks or its price, you always want to look closely at the neighborhood around that house before you buy.


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Is a Fixer Upper Right for You?
Posted on Mon, 21 Mar 2016, 02:45:00 PM  in Marketing strategies,  My services
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There are many people who love old houses. They dream of buying a fixer upper and renovating it into a masterpiece like it was when it was first built. A fixer upper is a great way to grab a house in a great neighborhood when you can't normally afford to buy. There are a few drawbacks to buying a house that needs to be renovated, but with a solid plan of action, it can be worth it in the end. 


Home improvement shows make it look simple to transform a home into a showplace, but those shows have experienced contractors with years of knowledge. In reality, a tough remodeling job can be a serious problem for homeowners who don't have enough experience and knowledge. It's important that you understand where you might falter and where you'll shine if you decide to do much of the renovations yourself. 

Before purchasing the house, you should have a serious look at the cost of repairs and remodeling. You'll also need to talk to the realfix estate agent about the cost of comparable houses in the area to be sure you're actually getting a good deal. If the cost of renovations and repairs are high, bringing the home up to the value of the other homes in the area might be too much to invest. 

Some of the easiest fixes are the ones that can be a complete turn off for some buyers. Cosmetic fixes like paint color, carpeting and outdated wallpaper can cause many home buyers to run from the house, but you can simply change these small cosmetic problems with a few cans of paint and new hardwood floors. You have to be willing to see beyond the current condition of the home to realize its potential, which can be tough for homebuyers who want a house in move-in condition. It's often how handy people can get a fixer upper for a steal. 

While many of these homes that are considered fixers might only need cosmetic changes, there are some renovations that aren't worth the time or money. If the home has foundation or structural issues, those can cost thousands of dollars. Problems with the structure of the home can often eat into the budget, and might not be worth fixing. 

When you've found a home that is within your budget, you need to have an inspector come in and assess the home. With a thorough assessment of the home, you can begin to do the calculations to decide whether the house will be a good deal in the end. You'll need to add up the costs of the renovations and repairs based on the inspector's report. 

It's vital to overestimate the costs of the repairs as well as deciding whether you might need a contractor for some of the work. The real estate agent can tell you what the home's likely market value will be after renovations. This formula will help you make a decision of whether the home is priced appropriately. 

A home that needs work might not be for everyone, but if you love the idea of doing your own repairs to bring a home to life, a fixer upper might be perfect for you. Make sure that you get a home inspection and talk closely with your real estate agent to find the perfect home for your do-it-yourself desires.

 


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Concerns When Choosing A Real Estate Agent
Posted on Thu, 10 Mar 2016, 10:00:00 AM  in Home buying tips,  Home selling tips,  Marketing strategies,  My services
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As the Internet continues to expand, individuals have an endless resource of information to choose from, when it comes to buying or selling a home. As impressive and informative real estate agents websites have become, buyers and sellers still face the question, “ How do I know if I am choosing the right real estate agent?” Choose correctly and your agent can make the buying or selling process a pleasurable and profitable one. Choose the wrong agent and you’ll have more on your hands than you bargained for. A good agent will work relentlessly for you trying to match you with a seller or a buyer. A bad agent can be careless, inattentive and a waste of your time.


It is imperative that buyers and sellers do their homework when agreeing to list with a local real estate agent. Speak with your neighbors, family, and friends and get their opinions as to who they would trust in real estate matters. Interview several local agents to get an impression of their commitment, willingness to work for you and professional experience. Never hesitate to ask questions. There’s the old mantra “Location, Location, Location.” A buyer or seller should subscribe to the mantra, “Ask, Ask, Ask.” What you don’t know may hurt you financially in the end.

These scenario's should be a cause for concern:agent

They recommend the highest price
When selling your home, the agent suggests listing at top dollar, confident that they can close at that price. Talk with three different agents to get a more representative idea of your home’s worth. As them how many days or months, it took to close their last three sales. Agents may suggest a high starting price so they can collect a generous commission if it sells. If the home doesn’t sell, they have plenty of room to start cutting the price which doesn’t fare well with most sellers. As time passes and the property is still up for sale, many buyers become suspect of the home, wondering if something is wrong with it.

The agent has a full-time job and real estate is just a part-time gig
If you want the best chance to sell or buy a home, always deal with a full-time, licensed real estate agent. Real estate agents are independent brokers and contractors. They are self-employed and their income depends on how hard they work for you. With questions, you should expect your agent to call you back, as soon as possible, not after they get off from working their full-time job. Your full-time agent can show you listings during the week. You shouldn't wait until the weekend for a part-time agent to show his listings.

Don’t list with a relative
Unless your relative, who is a top earning real estate agent, avoid contracting with a relative to represent you in selling or buying a home. Being relatives, both will have different expectations. This can lead to misunderstanding, lack of trust and frustration.

The agent is unfamiliar with your neighborhood market conditions
It’s important to find an agent that is “in touch” with the real estate market in your neighborhood. An out-of-town agent may not be well versed in neighborhood home values or whether a certain street or avenue serves as a dividing line in determining home prices. Names attached to neighborhoods often are an indicator of a home’s approximate value.

 


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4 Pool Maintenance Tips
Posted on Mon, 29 Feb 2016, 11:55:00 AM  in Marketing strategies,  My services
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Keeping a sparkling clean pool doesn’t need to be a cumbersome task. There are different types of pools, and they all have different maintenance needs. But, there is one thing that all pools have in common; they all need regular, routine care. If you choose to deal with common problems such as broken pipes or murky water by yourself, ensure you consult manufacturers’ manuals before using or fixing the equipment. However, even if you depend on a service company to care for your pool, there are things you need to do by yourself to ensure your pool remains in top condition for many years.


1. Skim debris and clean out the baskets
Every few days, skim the surface of the pool by hand. This is the easiest and fastest way to keep the pool clean. Floating debris often sinks eventually, and it becomes harder to remove. So, use a long-handled net known as a hand skimmer to remove bugs, leaves, and other unwanted stuff. Skimming will increase the efficiency of the circulatory system of the pool and reduce the amount of chlorine the pool requires. Also, clean out the strainer basket once a week. Doing so is beneficial, and it enhances the circulation and reduces the demand for chlorine. So, find the strainer basket located on the pool deck of an inground pool or at the side of the poolaboveground pool. Dislodge the plastic and shake it. You can also spray the inside with a hose to dislodge stubborn objects.

2. Vacuum pool and brush tiles and walls
Vacuum your pool weekly to keep the water clear and decrease the amount of chemicals required to be added. There are many types of pool vacuums. If you are using a manual vacuum, work the surface of the pool back and forth like you would while cleaning a carpet. Ensure you check the filter as you vacuum, and clean it when necessary. But, vacuuming is not the only weekly maintenance item to do. You also need to brush the tile and walls to minimize the build-up of algae and calcium deposits. The materials the pool wall is made of will determine the cleaning tools to use. If it is a plaster-lined concrete pool, use a stiff brush. But if it has vinyl or fiberglass walls, use a soft brush. Use these tools to prevent the degradation and scratching of the grout.

3. Clean the pool filter
There are three varieties of pool filters; sand, diatomaceous earth, and cartridge. All these have different procedures for maintenance. They need periodic cleaning, and this will depend on the type of filter and the frequency of use of the pool. However, don’t clean the filter more often than it is recommended as this will hinder the filtration process. A clean filter is not as efficient as the one with some amount of dirt on it. The dirt helps to trap other particles, and this removes debris from the water. However, don’t let the filter get too dirty. Clean the filter when the difference amounts to 11 to 15 pounds per square inch.

4. Service the heater professionally
Of all the pool equipment, pool heaters need the least amount of maintenance. Gas heaters can work well without being maintained for two years. But, electric heaters can last even longer. So, consult the manufacturer for specific maintenance instructions. Occasionally, calcium builds up inside the tubes, restricting the flow and preventing efficient water heating. In such a case, find a professional because this requires the disassembly of the heater to clean the pipes with a wire brush and acid.

Your pool needs to receive constant TLC for it to remain in top condition. Thus, skim the debris, vacuum the pool, clean the filter, and service the heater to achieve a well-functioning pool. 

 


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Everything You Need to Know About Renting Your Home
Posted on Wed, 10 Feb 2016, 10:15:00 AM  in Marketing strategies,  My services
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When you can no longer live in your current home but aren't sure you can find a buyer quickly, you might consider renting your home instead of selling it. Renting a home often has some key benefits over putting the property on the market. A dependable real estate agent can help you list your home online and through other sources. You can also work with a property management company that will find qualified tenants, collect rent for you and even take care of maintenance. Before meeting with a professional, make sure you know everything you need to know about renting your home.

Getting Your Home Ready
Those small problems that you had with your house are things you can let the buyers take care of later. When you rent your home though, you're responsible for taking care of those issues ahead of time. No one wants to rent a house that has a leaky roof, cracks in the ceiling, missing tiles in the bathroom or even tons of weeds outside. It may take you a few months or more to take care of all those necessary repairs before renting your home.

Claiming the Income
While renting your home helps you make some extra income, that money isn't free and clear. You are responsible for claiming the rentingincome that you make on your home to the government. The amount you make may actually move you into a higher tax bracket, which means that the government can legally take a higher amount of the taxes you earn within that new bracket. On the upside, you can often deduct the money that you spend to get the home ready for renters and any money you spend on routine maintenance too.

Meeting All Regulations and Standards
Even if you live in a house that is practically brand new, you must ensure that it meets all safety regulations and building codes in your city. There is always a risk that your tenants may contact the safety department and file a complaint against you for problems they had in the house. You must make sure that the plumbing and electrical systems work well and that the home is safe for anyone living there. If you do not meet the standards and regulations, you may receive some high fines and/or other penalties. 

Finding Tenants
One of the hardest parts of renting your home is that you must find qualified tenants to rent that property. Most landlords today do thorough background checks that investigate applicants for any criminal charges and any credit problems. Someone who filed bankruptcy in the past and has a long history of defaulting on credit cards isn't someone you want living in your home. There are websites that let you pay a set fee to do a civil and criminal background check on an individual. You may prefer to hire a professional to do the background check for you instead.

Taking Care of the Home
There is a big difference between being a landlord and being a home owner. As the owner of a home, you can put off making smaller or larger repairs until you have more cash available. You might ignore those missing shingles on your roof for a few months until you can hire a roofer. As a landlord, you must make those repairs quickly and as soon as the tenants contact you. Failure to maintain the property and take care of the home can result in some large fines. Make sure you understand more about the rental process before renting your home.

 


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Greater Baton Rouge Assoc. of REALTORS® Last Updated: 6/23/2017 1:25:46 PM

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