Category Archives: Renters

Retirement strategy? Relocate!

Unlike earlier generations of retirees who paid off their mortgages and retired in their family home, today’s Baby Boomers are looking to capitalize on home equity to enhance their retirement savings. If you’re thinking how relocating might stretch your retirement dollar, below are a few points you should consider before relocating, downsizing, or trading up:

 

  1. Speak with your spouse or partner first, even if you think you’re both of the same mind. Don’t assume that you’re in agreement. When the moment to make the leap comes, feelings may change.

 

  1. Consider the cost-of-living in a different part of the country. There’s a pretty big swing between rural Florida and urban San Francisco, for example. This might also mean factoring fuel costs if you’re moving into an area where you’re likely to spend more time driving.

 

  1. Consider whether your plans are realistic. For example, could you really live in a 1-bedroom condo after spreading out for years in your present 4-bed/3-bath?

 

  1. How much will the ease and pleasure of retirement depend on family and friends? What are the pros/cons of moving nearer/farther away? Conversely: Are there any detriments to moving closer to younger family members? (I.e. are you ready to open a free grandkid-sitting service?)

 

  1. Consider the potential impact of capital gains if you have substantial equity in your home— speak with a tax professional. This is especially true if you’re downshifting from ownership into a rental market.

 

Relocating to a more affordable area as well as to a smaller home is a strong strategy. But real estate values and property taxes can vary immensely by locale, even within the same state. Research thoroughly. Also, you want to spend significant time in the location to make sure its compatible with your lifestyle, pace, and interests.

 

If you’re thinking about relocating or know someone who would like to speak to a local agent about relocation plans, please pass along my information. I would be honored to serve your friends and family:

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Looking to Sell Your Rental?

While you may be perfectly happy with your investment property, a lot of landlords are looking to get out now. Timing is just about perfect. Here’s why:

1. The housing recovery is real. If you thought about selling in the past, but faces the prospect of depressed prices and a surplus of homes on the market, all of that has changed dramatically.

2. Inventory in your property’s neighborhood is low. What used to be a buyer’s market has shifted considerably towards a seller’s market.

3. Mortgage rates remain favorable for buyers, so we’re seeing a lot of first-time buyers enter the market. Many are interested in a property just like yours.

4. Though rental rates have risen, it’s actually driving more and more people to buy.

5. Now is a good time to think about your future plans for the property and what you might like to do with the proceeds from the sale. If there are personal expenses ahead or you’d like to enjoy some of the fruits of your sound investment, the market is ready.

I have a network of associates who would be very interested to hear your property is about to be listed, so if you think it makes sense for us to have a conversation about selling, please get in touch at your earliest convenience.

Ready to downsize?

Thought I might float an idea by you regarding any plans you may have for your future home. Are you like some of my clients? They have recently looked into downsizing now that their kids are out of the house, or have considered investing in second homes. One of the more popular options has been condos and town homes, especially in walkable, urban-like areas such as the Carmel Art District or even in booming Noblesville.

I don’t know if it’s something you’ve considered, but there are a number of benefits to condo and loft living. It’s a great way to take the majority of home maintenance issues off your back while maintaining the equity-building benefits of owning property.

Additionally, the lofts and condos selling these days are gorgeous compared to the “apartment style” condos of years ago. We’re seeing a lot of refurbished classic industrial buildings, amazing views, and quality amenities in these newer projects.

The draw for several of the people I’ve consulted with centers on having convenient access to shops, restaurants, museums, theaters, farmers’ markets, and other car-free destinations. Some have even bought lofts in other cities for the express purpose of renting out their property to vacationers when they’re not using it.

If you ever have any interest in pursuing something like this, or even would like to take a look at what modern loft living looks like these days, I’d be glad to give you a tour of the local market, or even connect you with someone in a city you’ve been considering.

Keep the critters out this fall!

When the temperatures begin to dip, humans aren’t the only ones who appreciate the warmth and shelter of a cozy home. Insects, rodents, and other small mammals are also drawn to the comforts your house provides. Ever have a mouse die in a wall? It’s not the sort of smell that one appreciates during the holidays. No one wants an expensive electrical repair when a rat chews its way through wiring in the attic or basement, either. Do yourself a favor and protect yourself from pests this Fall and Winter. Here are some tips:

1. Inspect the outside of your home for ways animals may sneak in. Often utility vents and areas under eaves have gaps which should be sealed or screened.

2. Look for gaps around door and window frames, and caulk or repair those gaps. Tiny entry ways can lead to big problems.

3. Examine trees around your home. Are any branches close to or touching the roof? These branches can be pathways for rodents to access your roof and any access ways the roof may provide to your attic, walls, or crawlspaces.

4. Make sure your garbage and recycling bins have tight fitting or locking lids. Hungry animals will find those scraps, trimmings, and drips, and they can more or less provide an invitation to come close to the house. It’s not a bad idea to buy containers with latches or locks that won’t interfere with garbage pickup, but will deter most animals. (Raccoons are particularly clever, though!)

5. If you have a wood pile for a fireplace or other stove, keep it at a distance from your home. If you’ve been keeping it close to the house because of the cover a roof provides, consider relocating the wood and using a tarp to keep it dry.

6. Inside your home, try not to store food on countertops as it will attract flies and rodents. Airtight containers inside of cabinets an drawers is a better bet.

7. Never leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight if you can help it. Just like food on the counter, it’s an invitation for bugs.

8. Wash your floors with a water and a cleaner. Food residue from spills will attract ants.

With a little prevention, you can keep your home pest free this season. Even with the best protection, pest control can become a necessity, though. If you need a referral for a trusted pest control company, feel free to get in touch with me.

Moving to a new city?

Are you considering a move to a new city? Maybe you’re trying to make the choice between two or three potential options. If so, how you visit your future home can have a dramatic impact on which one makes the final cut.

By making a few subtle shifts in how you prepare for your visit (and how you spend your time while you’re in town), you can gain more useful insight into the community.

Tip 1: Stay a week if possible
While a long weekend might be your only shot, you can get a much better perspective on a place if you have enough time to unwind. A mix of weekdays and a weekend is a great way to get a view of the rhythm of the town. If you have a long time to plan, visit the place in Summer versus Winter, too.

Tip 2: Rent an apartment or house
A family living in a hotel is expensive and automatically puts you “outside” the community. With a little more room and the facilities of a real living space, you’ll get a better sense of what it might be like to “really be there.” Plus, avoiding the hotel will keep you off tourist-trap areas and hopefully away from major highways.

Tip 3: Explore some on foot
Driving aimlessly can be a good “survey” technique (and indeed, getting lost is a good idea, too), but walking neighborhoods and downtown districts will give you a vivid sense of the community.

Tip 4: Get the local low-down
Before you go, find friends-of-friends on Facebook and other social media sites who can give you an idea of the must-see places that locals love. Use this list as your guide, not the tourism brochures.

Tip 5: Pay attention to what matters to YOU
Remember: You’re the one thinking of living there. Don’t let what others see as the main benefit to the town be what guides your decision to live there. Go with your gut, your values, and your comfort level!

By the way, I’m glad to help you sell your home prior to the move, or refer you to a trusted agent in your destination city. Just get in touch!

4 Tips for Finding Short-term Rentals

If you’re relocating to a new city, hunting for a home remotely can be a bit of a hassle. Despite the convenience of MLS alerts and virtual tours, nothing compares to visiting listings in person. Besides, with markets heating up and inventory dropping, homes you view online can be off the market before you book a plane ticket to visit. (Not to mention how the cost of those visits add up in a hurry.) There’s really no substitute for living locally while you search for your new dream home.

Since it’s unlikely you want to sign even a six-month lease on an apartment while you’re looking, what’s the best approach? Here are some options for finding a perfect short term rental while you’re house hunting:

1. Check out vacation rental sites. Websites like Airbnb (https://www.airbnb.com/), Vacation Rentals By Owner (http://www.vrbo.com), and Owner Direct Vacation Rentals (http://www.ownerdirect.com/) provide fractional access to furnished properties. While most people think of these properties for short vacation-length stays, many properties offer a monthly rate as well. One benefit to the selection of properties on vacation rental sites is the increased ability to locate properties in or near your preferred neighborhoods.

2. Consult with HR departments. If you’re relocating for work, often a company’s HR department can assist with temporary housing or at least provide access to a corporate rate on an extended stay hotel. There’s also the possibility that HR can circulate an intracompany memo or request for temporary housing referrals.

3. Get social (media). Even if you don’t have friends in your new city yet, you may have friends-of-friends living there you don’t know about. Put the word out on social media that you’re looking for a temporary home. Post several times on Facebook during different times of the day to maximize exposure (and ask for people to share your post!).

4. Tap your agent’s network. You are working with an agent to help you find a home, right? Well ask for help finding a short term rental while you search! Though not every agent will be able to provide referrals for rentals, often local MLS systems have private message boards where agents can pass along your request.

Buying a home is a big decision and making it under the pressure of a short visit isn’t a great idea. Use these tips to find a short-term rental while you look for a permanent landing place in your new city.

I’d love to help you find a home. Get in touch today: crobertson@realestatelinks.com 

Renters: Explore Your Purchasing Power

I think you’d probably agree that the worst investing advice in the world is: Buy high, sell low. That’s the very definition of losing money on an investment, right?

So let me ask you: Why would you wait for the housing market to improve before buying a house?

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I understand there’s a lot of uncertainty out there. Job security is questionable, unemployment is still high in some areas and you’re not sure what it takes to get pre-approved for a home loan. It can be scary. But here’s the thing:

Letting fear dictate your financial strategy for the future is a guaranteed way to pay too much for a house in the years to come.

Here are some facts:

– Interest rates are at or close to historic lows

– Prices for homes have plunged to the lowest levels we’ve seen in a generation

– Bank and government-owned property inventory is at an all-time high

– Rents are rising and rental inventory is shrinking (limited rental options!)

Shouldn’t you, rather than your landlord, be the one who benefits from owning a home? Right now is the “buy low” in the “buy low / sell high” cycle. Every day I help renters explore their purchasing power. You might be surprised just how qualified you are for home ownership.