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Real Estate Investing: Things to Consider with an Airbnb Investment

When it comes to real estate investing, it’s no longer just about fix-and-flip homes or rental properties. A growing number of real estate investors buy homes to turn into profitable Airbnb investments. According to a recent Forbes.com article, many investors realize they can often make more money with short-term rentals compared to 1-year or traditional leases. With most Airbnb arrangements, it’s a guest and host relationship vs. a tenant and landlord scenario. For investors who don’t want to worry about hiring a property manager or collecting rent themselves, the Airbnb model provides some advantages. But before house hunting for an investment property, consider whether it’s the right decision for you.

Checking out the obstacles

Before buying a rental home or an Airbnb property, check the subdivision’s HOA (homeowner association) rules as well as any county regulations. Many counties throughout the U.S. actually collect local taxes on behalf of the host. Some HOA policies require a one-year lease rather than shorter leases but could make exceptions considering guests do not sign traditional leases.

Figuring out the added expenses

When you invest in a rental property, you typically provide the basics such as washer and dryer, a running A/C unit and clean carpet. With an Airbnb, guests expect a furnished place with towels, bedding, pillows, rugs, books, décor and dishes. When figuring out your expenses, also consider tax implications such as whether to file a Schedule C or E.

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses

If you don’t have time to clean in between guests and don’t want to coordinate a cleaning service and don’t like interacting with the public, Airbnb is not likely to suit your personality. Hiring a property manager to oversee a rental property could work. On the other hand, if you have a gift for staging and entertaining, Airbnb could bring out your strong points.

To get started with real estate investing, talk to an experienced real estate agent about homes for sale that would appeal to renters or guests. If you decide to use your investment as an Airbnb, think of a decorating theme or draw. Homes with great views, access to hiking trails or with easy access to grocery stores and entertainment often generate more income. At Sunbelt Real Estate, we help new real estate investors and experienced ones find the right properties for their real estate investing goals. Talk to us about how to profit from the booming sharing economy. For more tips, contact us today.

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An Indispensable Tip: Review Your Inspection Report

Signing off on your new home is exciting. But it’s also a bit daunting. Much responsibility awaits and there are many repairs, improvements, and potential time bombs to keep track of. A comprehensive list of all your home’s needs and features is invaluable. Fortunately, if you were on top of things during the buying process, you have a home inspection report. You’ll do well to keep it handy and review it after you move in.

Having your prospective home inspected before you buy is critical. If you skipped it before you bought, having it done ASAP is still essential. The inspector will compile a report and provide you with a copy, usually as an electronic document. As you get unpacked and settled it’s easy to forget about the issues highlighted in the report. This is why it is important to keep it readily accessible. Printing out a copy and hanging it on the refrigerator is a good way keep track of it and serves as a daily reminder. It will serve as your master reference list of maintenance issues.

The report usually contains notes on which issues are the most pressing. Looking it over with pen or highlighter in hand is a good idea. That way you can rank maintenance issues and take notes as you go. Take a break from arranging furniture and unpacking boxes and review your report shortly after moving in. This way you won’t overlook the most urgent problems and you can make arrangements for a professional to tackle work you can’t do yourself. With most maintenance issues, patience is not a virtue. The longer you wait, the worse (and the more expensive) the problem will get.

A home inspection usually covers appliances. If your report shows some of them are reaching the end of their typical life expectancy, you’ll be prepared. You can carry out research on brands, models, and features as well as ask around to find out what others have used and been happy with. This should help you get a head start on shopping and be better able to hold out for a good deal on exactly what you want. This sure beats getting caught off guard when an appliance quits unexpectedly.

Your home inspection report is an invaluable tool throughout your time as a homeowner. In many ways, it is like an owner’s manual tailored for your specific home. Reviewing it thoroughly and periodically in the first few months of home ownership will get you on solid footing for any maintenance issues that may come up.

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Keywords to Make a Listing Pop When Selling A Home

A few keywords grab a potential buyer’s attention when viewing a home listing. When selling a home, consider several marketing tips to bring the right buyers to your open house and home viewings. Experts point out that when you focus on the keywords such as “subway tiles,” you give buyers a more accurate idea of your home’s features. According to a recent article by nbcdfw.com, a recent report by Zillow Digs looked at which keywords in listings help the home sell for a better price in less time. Researchers conducted a similar analysis last year. Some of the keywords are open to interpretation such as “luxurious,” and “captivating.” But if a potential buyer looks for “subway tiles,” it’s inexpensive and easy to make such small home improvements. If you want your real estate in the Connecticut area to sell quickly, take some time to consider what inspires home buyers.

Adding a few quirky features

The Zillow Digs study found homes featuring barn doors increase the home value by 13 percent. Homes with barn doors sell 57 days faster than other homes. If you love elegant French Doors, don’t remove them just to appeal to some buyers. At the same time, if you have a place in your home where a barn door would nicely fit such as between a dining room and hallway, consider adding the feature.

Focusing on comfort factors

Buyers like keywords that make them feel good such as heated floors. Your real estate agent will likely use flattering adjectives that also create good feelings. Also, longer listings with a lot of words attract higher bids.

Some other keywords that interest home buyers include shaker cabinets, which help homes sell 45 days faster at 9 percent above the average selling price. At Sunbelt Real Estate, we use flattering and accurate keywords to describe your home for sale in the Connecticut area. For more tips on selling a home, please contact us today.

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General Improvements Better Than Too Personalized Decor When Selling

 

Before spending thousands of dollars on home improvements to sell your Stamford-area home, consider whether you will get the best bang for your buck. Unfortunately, too many personalized “improvements” backfire. According to an article by rismedia.com, one of the main reasons homes don’t sell is because the improvements are too personalized. For example, comic book murals painted on the wall of a custom office with built-in shelving specifically for your hobbies will scare off buyers. Focus on general home improvements that have the most impact on potential buyers.

Home Improvement #1 – Adding fresh coats of paint

Painting your home can either increase the value or lower the value, depending on the colors you choose. Last year, yellow was a big color for kitchens. This year, buyers are spending more for homes with different blue shades. Talk to your real estate agent about which paint colors appeal to the buyers this season. Only use daring colors such as red in small spaces such as bathrooms.

Home Improvement #2 – Sprucing up the kitchen

Instead of spending $10,000 or more on a kitchen remodel, simply add a backsplash. One study found homes with subway tile in the kitchens sold for 6.9 percent more money. If you aren’t handy, hire a professional since anything other than peel-and-stick products are difficult to install. A Zillow Digs study found homes that had Shaker cabinets sold for 9.6 percent more than expected, while granite kitchen counters brought in 4.1 percent higher bids.

Other areas of the home that matter include bathrooms. Instead of a major overhaul, simply change out old toilet bowls, add backsplashes and paint. Make sure the fireplace functions, as buyers love to cozy up by the fireplace when it’s cold outside. Also, invest in a smart thermostat, trendy barn doors, and landscaping. Spend money wisely on home improvements for the best ROI (return on investment). Although they don’t seem as sexy, new roofs and A/C systems also matter to cost-conscious buyers. At Sunbelt Real Estate, we walk through our client’s home to figure out the best improvements and strategies for a quick sale. For general home selling tips and advice on staging and marketing your home in Greenwich, Stamford and nearby areas, please contact us today.

 

 

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Buying A Home: Why You Should Be House Hunting NOW

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you will make in your lifetime. Many buyers jump headfirst into house hunting without any real guidance or understanding of how the housing market works. At Sunbelt Real Estate our dedicated agents are eagerly anticipating your call, armed with knowledge and insight into the real world of home-buying. If you’re considering buying your first home, a vacation home, or just exploring your options for the future, we strongly urge you to do it with the help of our qualified professionals who wants only the very best for our clients.

Reasons to Buy in Today’s Economy

  • Appreciation: House values are higher than ever in today’s economy. Historically speaking, values have risen at a rate of 5.2% yearly but in most recent years, values are rising at an astronomical 7%, which in turn will create a higher demand for housing in the very near future, thus raising the equity in your home.
  • Low-Interest Rates: Due to the economic crash, home loan rates are at an all-time low, making it easier than ever for you to get into a new home.
  • Zero Down Options: Tying into low-interest rates for mortgages are zero down options that many financial institutes now offer. If a zero down option is not available, many places are still offering lowered down payments, such as 1% or 3%, contrary to the popular belief that 20% down is required.
  • Bad Rental Market: With prices of rentals soaring, what better time to buy your own home? Paying on your mortgage instead of paying someone else’s mortgage just makes more sense logically and financially. Rental prices are expected to go up even more in the next few years, depending on your area, whereas with a fixed-rate mortgage, you pay the same amount every month!

Tips and Tricks on Buying

  • Hire An Agent: Agents can effectively choose houses that suit your individual needs without wasting your time; short sale properties and the like can be a headache to home buyers and skilled agents will know what properties to look at to avoid wasting your time.
  • Get Loan Pre-approval: Having financing in places makes it possible for you to put in an offer on a home you love immediately without the worry of having someone else put in an offer first. This is not always necessary but it can alleviate stress on you, the homebuyer, and many sellers who often times won’t entertain offers from individuals without assurance that the buyer can get a loan.
  • Negotiate Offers: Negotiating is a big part of buying a home and with the help of a real estate agent, the process can go smoother than ever. You may need to negotiate up if there are many offers on a property or negotiate down if the seller’s asking price is too high for the area or if the home had issues that would need to be tended to upon purchase.

Why Sunbelt?

Sunbelt Real Estate has been helping home buyers find their perfect home for the past 20 years. Sunbelt serves the Connecticut area into New York’s Metro area, as well as Florida and international areas. With a vast knowledge of many different areas and properties, Sunbelt is sure to satisfy your needs and provide you with a purchase you can be happy and confident in. Contact us today so we can help you move into the home of your dreams!

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Getting the Best Price For Your Stamford Luxury Home

When it comes to selling your luxury home, the stakes are a bit higher than the average house. Making a small mistake can end up costing thousands of dollars. On the other hand, understanding the intricacies of this market can result in thousands of extra dollars in your pocket. Here are a few tips for getting the best price possible for your home.

Proper Timing

One of the selling points of luxury homes is often their proximity to local, natural attractions. For example, if you’re selling a home that is close to several local ski resorts, seeing the home blanketed in fluffy, white snow may be the best way for the buyer to understand the true value of the home. A home near a lake may be best seen by buyers during the summer when the sun is shining. Make your local geography work for you; don’t let it obscure the benefits of your home.

Price It Correctly

Pricing a luxury home is more difficult than a regular home, as they often have unique features that only certain buyers will value. Using a simplistic measure like price per square foot can lead to prices that are way off, and an inaccurate price can have drastic consequences.

Price a home too high, and it will sit on the market. Luxury homes that sit on the market for too long can develop a stigma—there must be something wrong with it if no one is buying it. This is especially true in the luxury home market, which has a small pool of buyers. These buyers will eventually forget about a home that has sat on the market too long. Conversely, pricing the home too low can lead to a lot of money being left on the table.

Hire the Right Agent

All of the tips in this article boil down to one thing—partnering with the right agent. A local agent experienced in selling luxury homes will know exactly when to place the home on the market, and at exactly what price. It is crucial to have someone with this kind of experience on your side as you undertake the process of selling your home.

Contact Sunbelt Real Estate for all of your luxury real estate questions.

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Buying A Luxury Home: Amenities That Are Right For You

Cicero‘s early Roman proverb, “A man’s home is his castle” is still applicable today. Why not make your home the castle you have always dreamed of? When you are looking for that perfect castle, remember this will be your home. Choose what is perfect for you.

More is less. You should feel breathless upon entering your home. Search out those unique details and hidden touches. Those are what will make you stand apart from others. Plan for family and friends enjoying your home. Guest rooms and outdoor spaces will make your look glorious. As the kitchen and living areas are at the center of your world, make sure they are perfect for you and your family.

Consider the property. You want to feel the privacy and security of your own space. Make sure there is ample space to live your dreams. Walk around in the space to smell, breathe, envision the energy you will expend there. Look at the views you will enjoy. Check out the neighborhood.

Take into account your lifestyle. You want to live close enough to what you love, yet far enough to have your own haven. Consider all who will be living in your home. Acknowledge the needs of each one to have harmony and beauty within your luxury.

Think about how the technology will meet your needs. Do you desire entertainment, communication, and high security? Or would you be more content with a rustic, unplugged lifestyle? Have space to work hard and be able to unwind and play just as hard.

Contact Sunbelt Realty to help you find that perfect castle to make your home.

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Helpful Hints For Buying a Luxury Home in Stamford, CT

 

Buying a home is never a decision to be taken lightly, and the importance of making the right decision becomes magnified when you decide to buy a luxury home. However, as scary as the process might seem, it can certainly one of the most rewarding choices of your life! The home you’ve always pictured in your head is out there–here are some tips to help you find it.

Understand the Process

When it comes to the luxury housing market, sellers tend to be a bit more private. That means that you may need to dig a little bit deeper to find out what homes are available, whether that means going through a few more websites or using the personal connections of a real estate agent.

Know What YOU Want

While you will likely have the help of a few professionals throughout the home buying process, you are ultimately the one who will be living in the house. Make sure that you understand your family’s needs and lifestyle, and what kind of property will meet and fulfill them.

Make Sure the Finances are in Order

The figures involved in a luxury housing deal tend to be substantial, and sellers will often want to verify that you have the necessary funds when it comes time to make an offer. Make sure to have a current bank statement with your personal information redacted handy in case this comes up. Also, if the transaction is taking place across borders, make sure that you understand all of the applicable tax laws.

Team Up with the Right People

By far the most important step of the process is to choose an experienced partner to guide you through. It is absolutely essential that you seek the help of someone who has worked through the home buying process many times over. With luxury home buying, the stakes are simply too high to try to go it on your own or to work with someone who lacks the necessary qualifications. Contact Sunbelt Real Estate to start the process of making your dream home a reality.

 

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Three Tips for Buying a Luxury Home

Buying a luxury home is a big investment, one that you should not go into without the proper preparation. Whether this is your first luxury home or you have lived in a luxury home for years, finding the right home for your family’s need is essential. If you are considering purchasing a luxury home, there are several things you should do.

Do Not Settle

When you are fresh out of college and not making a lot of money, you may need to settle for a home that is not entirely what you had envisioned. When the time comes to purchase a luxury home, though, you are investing a large amount of money. You should not have to sacrifice that third bathroom, give up on the idea of a large yard, or buy a home in a less-than-desirable neighborhood. Your luxury home should be something you love.

Be Willing to See the Potential

On the surface, it may seem contradictory to say that you should not settle but that you should also be willing to see the potential. Even a luxury home, though, may have a few things that you need change. Do not allow the lime green walls or the outdated kitchen cabinets to scare you away from an otherwise wonderful home. See the home’s potential. Small fixes are not going to cost very much to change. Even larger fixes may not be big deal if they are factored into your home budget. Be willing to see how a home that is not quite perfect yet could be perfect, especially if it is in a neighborhood that you like.

Work with the Right Agent

While some people are lucky enough to stumble upon their perfect home on their own, most people need the assistance of an experienced real estate agent to find the right luxury home for their family. For the most effective home buying experience, be sure to partner with Sunbelt Real Estate during your home search.

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Our New Website

Welcome to our new website. It’s a long time coming and we’re very excited about it. Please take a look around and we have a lot more to come. Feel free to drop us a line and tell us your thoughts. We’re always happy to hear from our clients, friends and neighbors. Welcome to a new era of Sunbelt!