8 Things to Think about Before You Become A Landlord

It all seems so simple on the surface. You buy property to rent, build up equity and even ownership based on the rent paid and presto, you own an income generating property. But the reality is just a little more complicated. It can still be done, no doubt, but you need to be smart and understand that you are entering a complicated and long-term relationship. The potential to get it wrong is considerable, so knowing as much as possible going in will help you avoid some real problems. Read more here

Best Practices for Dealing with Your HOA

In the 1960s, there were about 500 homeowners associations. Today that number is over 300,000. Chances are you or someone you know live in a community with an HOA. On the good side, HOA rules prevent neighbors from parking their ‘projects’ on the front lawn, and on the other side, they may limit your freedom of choice when it comes to your home. In all cases though, the rules and bylaws are clearly written out, and learning to engage with the HOA board is the first step to a great relationship. Read more about 10 tips to make it happen, here

Inspection

Home inspectors have a job to do; how big that job is might depend on you.  If you are preparing your home for sale, you might want to put in some time and effort before the inspection to improve the results. If the inspector has less to report, the odds are that the report he gives to the potential buyer will be less of a barrier to making the final sale.  There are some common-sense approaches and some interesting tips to consider.  Read more here.

Lower Mortgage Rates Here to Stay, For Now

With Spring on the way (in most parts of the country) and winter behind us, the home shopping season is just starting to warm up. And as usual, one question gets asked more than most, will mortgage rates go up or down? 2014 wasn’t as brisk as some had hoped with weak activity for both sellers and buyers. However, heading into January there were 9 percent fewer homes on the market than in 2014. And the news on mortgage rates is good too. Read more here.

Sell A Great Looking House, Not Your Home

When you are preparing to sell your home, you need to look at your ‘home’ as a house. A home is something you love, warts and all. But to a potential buyer, those warts aren’t as endearing. The good news is, you don’t have to have unlimited resources to get your home looking like the house that someone will love. By increasing the curb appeal, cleaning the clutter, and adding a few modernizing touches, you will help increase your home’s appeal to potential buyers. Read more here.

Welcome Back, Low Down-Payment Mortgages!

With the return of low down-payment mortgages, there is a lot of buzz on the merits and the risks of these types of loans. Based on many recent articles and commentary, one might be convinced that these types of loans are a harbinger of tragedy. However, the truth may be far different. For starters the industry is very different today from what it was prior to the collapse. Read more about why low or even no down payment mortgages might be a great idea here.

Is That Sidewalk Yours?

What you own and what you are responsible for may often be the same thing, but that sidewalk out in front of your house is a tricky proposition. Many cities and municipalities own the sidewalk, but the responsibility for their upkeep may fall to you, the homeowner. The decision on who owns the sidewalk and who is responsible is often controlled by individual states. The rules, responsibilities and even financial obligations can change from city to city, too. Learn more here.

Spring Ahead With Tips for Spring Cleaning

After a brutal winter, spring is finally in the air. As the clothes get lighter and windows open up to let in the fresh air, you probably notice that there are a lot of things that could use a good cleaning and organizing. Winter clothes need to get stored away, and those windows could use a washing. And while everyone knows how to clean, there are always a few tips that make the effort faster, more efficient and a bit more organized. Here are a few tips for you that might make your spring cleaning a bit easier this year. Read more here.

What Will Zillow and Trulia Look Like?

In July of last year, the now completed merger of Zillow and Trulia was in the early stages. Questions on how the new company would look were plentiful. Well, the wait is over, and the future of the Zillow Group is direct connections between brokerages and MLSs. The Zillow Group is losing some listings due to a court fight with List Hub, but they are working feverishly to limit the impact by signing new and interesting listing partners. Read more here.

Know How Much House You Can Afford Anytime

How much mortgage can you get? If you want to get formal about it, you can get in touch with a Loan Officer and get preapproved for a mortgage, but that might be a step too far for some to consider. Another way is to look into a mortgage access index online. By considering several different variables like credit score, debt to income ratio, and loans you might have, you can quickly get a solid picture based on Fannie Mae Loan Acquisition data. Find out how much mortgage you can afford today, read more here.