How to List Your Home on AirBnb and Earn Easy Travel Cash

How to List Your Home on AirBnb and Earn Easy Travel Cash

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When Joe Gebbia, Brian Chesky and Nathan Blecharczyk came up with the idea of AirBnB, it was motivated by a need for housing and accommodation during travel. A hotel room simply can’t offer the same level of comfort and intimacy that a home can offer.

As the concept caught on globally, an overwhelming number of people started seeing the platform and homestays as a better alternative to the hotel experience. Today, AirBnb is listed in 191 countries – so in almost every corner of the world, a wayward traveler can find a homely accommodation at the press of a button.

Related: How to Improve Your Home to Make More Money on Airbnb

What to consider before listing on Airbnb

Before one lists their home on Airbnb, there are a few things to consider.

Are you comfortable with strangers?

Airbnb essentially means inviting total strangers into the host’s personal space. That is not an easy thing to do, especially if one is a private kind of person. It may work best if the host prefers to leave the entire house for the guest or the living quarters are completely demarcated.

AirBnb offers a lot of insurance and protections to hosts. That said, it still involves allowing strangers into an often personal space.

Do you have the time to play host? 

Once there is a guest in a space, the host has to constantly cater to their needs to prevent the dreaded bad review. This means making time (lots of time) to be at hand to answer questions and make sure the guest feels comfortable and safe.

In addition, the host should expect emergencies that may require their physical presence. A host has to be flexible, because needs could arise at anytime.

What is unique about your listing?

Since the coming of Airbnb, many homeowners have jumped onto the bandwagon to rent out their homes and spaces. That means there’s a lot of competition. It’s imperative for hosts to identify the special features that they can offer which their competitors cannot.

Are you prepared for any liabilities?

With Airbnb comes the risk of theft, fire, injury and even death. Although there is Airbnb liability insurance, the psychological repercussions of such actions can impact the host and their family – especially if the location holds sentimental value. 

Are you an avid learner and readily adapt to changes?

As an Airbnb host’s imperative for one to constantly learn, adapt and change certain aspects of their listings depending on the wave of demand and local market trends. Failure to do this is a sure-fire guarantee of failure to achieve the profit levels necessary to keep it up.

If after considering all the above, you’re still sold on the idea of being an Airbnb host, here are the steps to take for getting on board.

How to list your property on AirBnB

1. Create an Airbnb account

The first part is creating an Airbnb account, which is fairly simple. There are four options to sign up with: the host’s Facebook account, email address, Amex or Google account. The creation of an Airbnb account is free.

During the signup process it is best to put in as many details about the listing and as much as one can about themselves. Nothing scares potential guests off quicker than a mysterious host.

2. Put up the listing

Listing writing is an art form – it’s recommended you enlist the help of a professional writer to put together an excellent listing write up. The best part of putting up a listing with Airbnb is that they do not leave hosts alone to figure it out. They’re constantly on hand to offer advice and direction with their stellar customer service support.

For example, new hosts may be wondering how much to charge per night or how many nights to make available for guests. Airbnb provides pricing suggestions depending on the property, season and location.

3. Take photos of the space and describe the amenities

Visuals are a critically important part of the listing – so much so that in the early days of AirBnb, Brian Chesky would personally go to the homes of his first customers and take professional photos of their spaces.

While describing the amenities helps a lot the deal is cinched by photos of the space. So before any photos are taken, declutter the space and remove any personal items. 

The photos should be taken in natural lighting because natural light is brutally honest. For example, the pool lit up in the night may look great but with natural lighting, it gives a more accurate picture of the area. 

Speaking of accuracy, make sure the description of the amenities is accurate and honest. Remember, guests leave reviews and their reviews can make or break your hosting dreams. If anything is dishonestly depicted the property loses credibility with guests.

Another important piece of information when talking about the listing is the type of neighborhood it is in. Is it a lively loft in the middle of town? Is it quiet and suburban with very little activity around? What are the nearby attractions and what transport options are available to get there?

4. Talk about the perks

Guests on Airbnb are always looking for the accommodations with the best perks. These usually include the standard offering of 

  • Internet
  • Towels
  • Kettle and coffee/tea/sugar/creamer
  • TV with Streaming options

Additional perks can be breakfast included in the rate, local teas or coffee, laundry services, toiletries, and even a guide. While the host doesn’t have to add any of the extra perks, their worth as a host can go up incredibly just by making a few additions.

Also, let the guests know about nearby attractions like parks, tourist attraction sites, nature trails, markets, and shopping malls. It’s also a good idea to let them know about the nearest grocery store, restaurant, hospital, and public transport system.

Prepare services to make hosting easier

Preparing to have the house cleaned and stocked means employing the services of cleaning services and odd job agencies. Most hosts wait until they’ve received a booking to begin looking for these services. However, it’s crucial for the success of the listing to arrange for these services before any bookings come through to ensure smooth operations once the guests have started arriving.

It’s in the best interests of the host to make necessary arrangements even as they set up their Airbnb listing. This ensures both the guest and the host can enjoy having each other.

In the event of an issue, address them with tact. No one wants to be put on blast. The Airbnb resolution center helps to resolve issues securely, professionally and privately. This enable parties involved to have an impartial arbitrator and resolve issues amicably.

Related: Apartment Investing 101 – The Ultimate Guide

And that’s it! You’re ready to start hosting. Most importantly, make sure to go above and beyond in your duties as a host – as big of a leap as it might be putting your home up to somebody else, it’s just as big a leap for someone to come and live in a strange place. Take care of your guests, and they’ll take care of you.

Happy hosting.

Related: Beautiful Houses – 10 Best Styles

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Evolution of Home Tech

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Interested in buying a home? Homeownership and house hunting have both changed drastically over the past decade, no thanks to transformative changes in technology. This article will talk you through how technology has changed the definition of what a home looks like over the years. 

From finding a house to buy to living in one, there’s tons of technology in and around the housing industry. This wasn’t always the case. 

Smart homes have been around longer than we think, but they’ve evolved greatly. What was smart in the 1900s is just a basic necessity in 2019. This really goes to show how revolutionary home technology is, and how it has impacted homeownership in the past decade and continues to do so. 

From the visible to the invisible, home technology has evolved in ways nobody could have predicted.

The Dawn Of Home Technology

The beginning of home technology can be traced back to the invention of home appliances way back in the 1900s. Chores like cleaning were taken over by the first vacuum cleaner in 1901. The next two decades saw appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, irons, toasters, etc being invented.

More and more Americans started adopting home technology and saw a massive improvement in their standard of living. The days of storing food in ice-boxes and worrying about meat going bad were far behind. The introduction of home appliances gave way to a smarter way of living for most people. 

The First Smart Device

When someone says “smart device,” one’s mind usually goes to modern tech. However, the first smart device was introduced way back in the 60s. Echo IV was invented in 1966 to act as a sort of home computer. It was designed to operate kitchen appliances and regulate temperature. This 800-pound computer did not make it to the market (for obvious reasons).

While this smart device did fail, it made way for conversations and possibilities that people didn’t couldn’t have imagined at the time.

The First Smart Homes

The early 2000s saw the rise of the first smart homes. The technology was becoming cheaper, so more and more Americans were able to afford revolutionary pieces of technology for their homes. Home technology was driven by safety and convenience. More improved variations of existing technology and new technology like the home security camera, computers, etc were introduced.

Technologies for domestic use, networking and various other gadgets started showing up on shelves. These were being consumed all over the USA at a large scale, which led to the need to stay connected. The rise of the internet made way for a completely different landscape for home technology owners and manufacturers. 

One example of this is Dial-Up internet being replaced by wifi. From being able to either use the internet or talk on the phone to having multiple devices connect over a single network source, home technology has evolved to meet changing consumers’ demands. 

Related: What to Know About Buying a House with Leased Solar Panels

Today’s Smart Homes

The shift in buyers’ perspective is the main reason behind the evolution of today’s smart homes. 

Accessibility, security, environment-friendly homes are the major focuses of today’s buyers. Modern smart homes have given remote access to everything from the thermostat to television. The introduction of voice-powered virtual assistants has resulted in a new wave of smart homes. 

Practically all appliances in today’s homes can be connected to one another.

The convenience of having appliances connected to a mobile device and the ability to have remote access has made life simpler for many. Gone are the days of worrying if someone forgot to turn off the lights before leaving – all one has to do is open the app on their phone and check. That’s it. 

Technology has found its way into other aspects of a homeowner’s life as well.

Remote video surveillance? Check. Feeding a dog while away? Check. A leak in the pipes? Check. Smart technology has enabled users to be in complete control of what’s happening in their house. 

This rise in technology is also responsible for making life easy for people with disabilities or other health problems. Homes are now more accessible to those with special needs and the conversation around elderly care has also shifted to adapting to a “smart” lifestyle that ensures safety and convenience for all. 

Emergency services are a mere voice command away and so are friends and families. 

Related: Buying a House Checklist

 

The Way Ahead

Home technology also gives prospective home buyers advanced resources to find a home to their liking. For instance, Zumbly provides home scores in real-time, helping everyone from first-time buyers to experienced investors find a property with the right value for them. These home buying technologies are changing the game of real estate, making house hunting tools more accessible to everyone.

The future of home technology is simple, proactive and intuitive. The current scenario is dependant on commands made by the homeowner; futuristic technology will be based on the judgment of the machine. 

The rise of machine learning and artificial intelligence has enabled technology to interpret, analyze and now guess the actions of humans. Machines are likely to get smarter by adapting to the changing needs of humans. This will result in a ‘humanization’ of machines, allowing them to relate more to human actions through collecting data. 

What this means for the future of home technology is that all appliances and devices will be connected to one another, and will most likely have the ability to predict what a homeowner will require and suggest the same before being asked.

The age of the Jetsons is coming!

 

In Conclusion

Smart homes aren’t just a trend, but a way of living that has been rising since the 1900s. Right from the humble refrigeration to the modern voice assistant that turns on the lights, the definition of what a home looks like has dramatically evolved.

This has resulted in changed home-buying patterns and different selling points for buying a new home. The optionality of “smartness” in a home is going to be replaced by necessity, because of the ever-changing tech-dependence and ecosystem. What seems as a luxury now is going to be a pivotal part of any average home down the line.

The way forward is having the world at our fingertips, and access to unimaginable services and home technology within our reach.

Related: How Long Does It Take to Buy a House?

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Need to Knows When Buying Your First House

Need to Knows When Buying Your First House

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“A house is more than a shelter. It should uplift us spiritually and emotionally.” 

These are the immortal words of John Saladino, an American interior designer, garden designer, and furniture design wizard. For the past six years, the American housing market has been experiencing exponential growth. Although the number of investments in real estate has begun declining, many people are still investing in homes. 

Despite changing generational attitudes towards consumption, buying a home remains one of the single biggest milestones in most people’s lives. At Zumbly, we want to help you find the best deal for your price range. Here’s our guide for everything you need to know when buying your first house.

Ready to Buy?

This is a question that plagues those who dream about owning a home: How do you know if you are ready to buy? Simple – when the following factors no longer hinder your progress.

Pre-existing loans

Any type of loans from student to auto loans will hamper your ability to access financial aid, in turn hindering your ability to purchase a home. A loan of any form already signals to lenders that the individual doesn’t have enough money to begin with, and indicates a higher level of risk. Lenders will always look at the credit score and credit history to tell whether they can trust the borrower with their funds. A credit score of 700 and above is typically fair.

Monthly mortgage payments

Can the individual make their monthly payments towards the mortgage? For most people, their mortgage payment is probably similar to what they’ve been paying in rent anyway. However, that doesn’t factor in additional ownership costs like property taxes, city assessment costs, water, insurance costs, and sewerage. 

As a renter, these costs fell upon the landlord to pay but as a homeowner they fall on the individual to pay. These costs add significantly to the monthly payments that accompany the mortgage.

Down payment lump sum

A down payment is the up-front lump sum of money paid towards the purchase of a house at the begin of the process. It significantly reduces the amount of money one ends up borrowing and it’s typically up to 25% of the total value of the house. 

The down payment proves to lenders that the borrower has their own money. Ultimately, the larger the amount paid on the down payment, the less the amount borrowed to finish the house payment.

Settling down

Buying a house is always a good idea when you’re ready to settle down and put down roots. The home provides stability for a family and builds equity. Settling down doesn’t necessarily mean starting a family, but single people can settle down where they set up their businesses or near loved ones.

The process of buying a house

 

1. Save up

 

The process of acquiring a house is not just time-consuming, it’s also a financial drain. So before even shopping for a house, one must save money for the down payment and all other relevant payments. Apart from saving, one must also ensure that their credit score is good – which means all pre-existing loans are paid off to reflect a pristine credit history.

 

 2. Get pre-qualification or pre-approval

 

It is crucial to get pre-approved or pre-qualified to determine what type of house one can afford and the amount of loan they have access to. For pre-qualification, the borrower must provide financial information regarding savings, income and any types of assets or investment they may have. This information enables the lender to ascertain how much they can lend without taking unnecessary risks. 

Alternatively, the lending institution will pre-approve the borrower for credit, meaning they will perform a background check to verify the financial information given to them.  Once this is verified they will approve a certain amount of credit based on the amount from the financial assets the borrower has.

 

3. Hire a real estate agent

 

Hiring a professional real estate agent is crucial for first-time buyers. Not only are they walking encyclopedias on the real estate laws and regulations of the locale, they’re resourceful and come equipped with much-needed negotiation skills.

The purchase of a home involves a lot of paperwork and fine prints which can go unnoticed to the lay eye. It’s important to have an experienced hand to guide you through the ins and out of owning property. 

 

4. Identify the house

 

It’s time to shop. This is perhaps the second-best part of the process (the best is actually owning the house). With some recommendations from the real estate agent, there will be appropriate houses to look at in your preferred location. The agent will send a list of houses to choose from and dates for open houses or a pre-arranged visit. 

 

5. Make an offer

 

Once the house is identified, making an offer should follow soon after. The offer opens the door to communication with the seller and a possible sale. To quote Koki Adasi, real estate agent extraordinaire, “The house you looked at today and want to think about until tomorrow, might be the same house someone looked at yesterday and will buy today.”

Time is always of the essence, especially if the house is located in a popular neighborhood.

The Inspections and Appraisals

Lenders always insist on an appraisal of the property they are financing to establish the value. This ensures that should the homeowner default on the mortgage payments, they can still sell the property to recover their money. The borrower will pay for the appraisal and the report is sent to the lender.

One more thing to remember with appraisals it that if the amount in the appraisal is less than the sale price, the lender will give you the lower amount. But if the property is appraised at a higher price the lender will give you the loan amount initially asked for.

Conclusion

Buying a house is a crucial step towards establishing permanent financial security. However, it’s always recommended to take one’s time and not make any hasty decisions – it’s a marathon, not a spring. What may look excellent on the outside may have tones of structural issues like plumbing, bad gutters or leakages among other things. 

Happy house hunting! Sign up with Zumbly to get started finding your house today.

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Buying a House in 2019: What you Need to Know

Buying a House in 2019: What you Need to Know

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Buying a home is one of the most important decisions a person will make in their lives. Unfortunately, most people enter the house hunting process either with misleading information or too much emotion. House hunting is a stressful and time-consuming process – new home-owners tend to play it by ear and find unpleasant surprises every step of the way.

However, looking for a house doesn’t have to be that way. Having a plan in mind and a basic framework will make the process of home-ownership a pleasant one, as it should be. Whether it’s buying one’s first house or moving into a bigger family house, it is an important milestone for many. 

Being prepared not only makes the process easier but also helps secure that dream house faster. At Zumbly, we give you real time scores to help you find a home that’s right for your price range and your personality. With our house hunting expertise, here’s a guide to looking for the perfect place for you.

Important Steps For Buying A House in 2019

This is a step-by-step guide that will help streamline the process of homeownership. Knowing the process of looking for a home reduces your potential anxiety and unfamiliarity. 

As a buyer, it’s important to be confident and well-informed about one’s financial standing and the decision of finalizing the house. Let’s dive into the complete process of buying a house in 2019.

  1. When To Buy A House
  2. Expense Preparation
  3. Getting Approved
  4. Finding A Real Estate Agent
  5. House-Hunting List
  6. Submitting An Offer
  7. Home Inspection and Appraisal
  8. Closing The Deal

 

1. When To Buy A House

 

Before buying a house, it is important to know the right time to do it. This ranges from being mentally prepared to start the house-hunting process and evaluating one’s credit score. Buying a house without adequate financial resources is a recipe for disaster. 

The next part is to consider your current life stage. Being aware of job security and long-term life goals is a crucial part of deciding to kick off the home-buying process. 

After considering these scenarios and accepting that homeownership is in the cards, the more substantial process begins. 

Related: Best Time of Year to Sell a House

 

 

2. Expense Preparation

 

The next step is to figure out the affordability of buying a house. You need to establish a rough budget to begin the house-hunting process. This involves calculating overall expenses such as mortgages, repairs and any additional costs that might come up (consider at least a 10% buffer on whatever estimate you’ve come up with to allow for incidentals). 

This also includes researching the housing market. By studying the areas in which it’ll be most feasible to buy a house, you can start adjusting your expectations. No one wants to look at a house that they love only to realize its way out of their budget, then having to restart the house-hunting process all over again.

 

3. Getting Approved

 

Most people buy a home with a home mortgage plan. Being pre-approved for a home loan takes a lot of uncertainty out of the equation. Consider a scenario wherein a seller is given two offers, one with approval and one without – which one are they likely to take? 

While getting pre-approved may seem like a lot of work, it’s definitely worth it in the end when it gives you an edge in competitive home-buying scenarios. A seller might even accept a lower offer if it comes with a guaranteed pre-approval.

 

4. Finding a Real Estate Agent

 

No matter how much research you do on your own, the value of a real estate agent can’t be understated. They’re experienced professionals with the right connections and the industry know-how that will help a new buyer look for and secure the right house. 

Look for a buyer’s agent or a neutral facilitator, since they’re more likely to get buyers a better deal and be impartial towards listings and while giving advice. Factors like experience, specific skill sets, negotiations, and more should be considered before enlisting the help of a real estate agent.

 

5. House-Hunting List

 

House hunting is perhaps the biggest and most important stage of buying a house where most people falter. There’s so much more than what meets the eye and yet people tend to get carried away by emotions or aesthetic value while deciding which house to invest in.

Keep an eye out on the neighborhood that you like – compromising on that won’t work out in the long run. Based on the budget, buying an inexpensive house in an expensive neighborhood can be a great decision as the value tends to go up – just be aware of red flags or serious fixer-uppers. Looking at similar listings and figuring out an approximate value is a good starting point for the house-hunting process.

 

6. Submitting An Offer

 

This is where a good real estate agent comes in handy. They’ll work with you and help you draft a solid offer. Making an offer also includes figuring out what comes with the house and what doesn’t. Take the help of the realtor to figure out seller disclosures and any similar nitty-gritty before putting in an offer. 

Related: How to Make an Offer When Buying a House

 

7. Home Inspection and Appraisal

 

No one wants to move into a home with structural issues or any major/minor problems without being aware of it. This is where a home inspection comes in. Home inspections occur before buyers sign the final contract and it is up to the buyer to decide the tests that are to be done.

An appraisal is done to determine the true value of the land or house, assuring the lender that there is no malpractice. It also protects the buyer from paying more than the real value.

 

8. Closing The Deal

 

This is it. All the steps have led to this moment. Months and months of planning, negotiations, and tests have finally come to fruition. The final contract, property tax, insurance, and fees are all that’s left of the process.

It is important to do a final walkthrough to ensure everything is the same as before and there are no changes. That’s it – a sign on the dotted line and the process of home-buying is finally over. 

Let’s Lock It In

Even though all this may seem like a lot, once the house buying process begins, the best thing to ensure is that you are well-informed. Any curveballs or roadblocks won’t catch you by surprise as there is a framework ready. 

Having the support of an expert and a step-by-step guide is crucial, but don’t hesitate to ask questions. No one expects homeowners to be gurus about the real estate industry. Even after lots of research, there are many inside workings that are elusive. If there is something that is confusing, simply ask.

This ensures transparency and a smooth process while buying a house.

Related: Beautiful Houses – 10 Best Styles

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Easy Guide to Leasing and Renting

Easy Guide to Leasing and Renting

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A lease agreement is a legally binding document that most people, unfortunately, tend to underestimate. Typically, the landlord drafts the lease agreement, although some properties use a standard lease formulated by the area’s trade association for landlords.

Most people interchange the words leasing and renting, but the two terminologies have several major distinctions. 

Here at Zumbly, we’re experts in helping you find a home to buy, rent, or lease that’s right for your taste and your price range. Let’s walk through some of the primary differences between a lease and a rental.

1. Maintenance responsibilities

When leasing, the lessor hands over the property to the lessee for an agreed-upon amount of time. During this time, the lessor expects the lessee to maintain the property and take care of all the responsibility the lessor typically would.

With renting, the tenant never takes up the maintenance responsibilities which remain the duty of the renter.

 

 

 

2. Timing

 

A lease involves a longer period of time, usually a year or more. On the other hand, renting often involves a shorter period. The tenant usually rents a space on a month-to-month basis.

3. Accounting standards

 

 

Renting is free of a standard renting agreement, unlike a lease. A lease has a set Accounting Standard 19.

 

4. Fluctuations in prices

 

While rent rates typically fluctuate with inflation and the landlord can change them at their discretion, leases do not fluctuate. The price that the landlord and the renter agree upon in the lease remains fixed until the lease expires and a new rate is agreed upon.

In fact, nothing can be changed in a lease agreement once it’s been signed.

 

5. Terminologies

 

In a renting relationship, the renter is the landlord and the rentee is the tenant. In a leasing agreement, the property owner is known as the lessor and the person taking the property or asset is known as the lessee.

 

6. Offer to purchase

 

Once the lease term is finished, the person leasing typically has the option to buy the asset or property outright. This is not an option with renting. The landlord does not offer their property to the tenant for purchase upon the end of the agreement.

What is in a lease?

A lease agreement features

 

1. A description of the property

 

The correct and comprehensive description of the property is necessary to give the lessee an accurate picture of the property. All these details make the property unique from others. 

 

2. The agreed length of time

 

Leases will show the exact dates from the starting date to the last date of the lease. It’s very rare to have a lease that features a general time period like “one year” or “six months.” This is because leases, for legal purposes, can’t leave anything open to interpretation. Plus, having exact dates ensures there are no future disputes about when the lessee should vacate the property.

Related: Best Time of Year to Sell a House

 

3. Terms of leasing

 

Some leases come with renewal options or the option to purchase the property/asset. If any of these is the case, it should be clearly stated in the lease. Among other terms in the leasing contract is the lessor’s intention or right to inspect the property’s condition, especially when the lease is very long term. Such intentions must be agreed upon in the contract. As much as the lessee has a right to privacy, the lessor is also entitled to know the state of their investment.

 

4. Rules of escalation

 

Once a lease is signed, it’s virtually impossible to change it. This is why being clear about escalation protocol from the get go is crucial. For example, if one intends to buy the property at completion of the original lease they should make this clear. If they intend to escalate their operations for a commercial property or have a home office in a residential property, a new lease agreement needs to be drafted to incorporate such changes. 

What is in a rent agreement?

A rental agreement features

 

1. Description of the rental

 

Create detailed and accurate descriptions of the property so that the tenant knows exactly what they’re renting. It is essential to include details about parking slots, storage areas, and amenities large and small. If the property owner has other units or sections on their property that are off-limits to the tenant, these stipulations must be present in the rental agreement.

 

2. Terms of agreement

 

Rental agreements have shorter periods of occupancy that can be interrupted by either the tenant or landlord. However, issues like termination of the contract need to follow certain procedure so that there are no aggrieved parties. For example, agreeing on a written notice from either party when terminating the contract is vital.

Like a lease, the rental agreement states the exact dates of starting the occupancy of the property to the last day and the vacating time frame. 

 

3. The payment procedure

 

The rent amount should be written numerically and also spelled out for the tenant to read. The agreement should also stipulate how the rent is to be paid, on what exact dates, and how long the contract is meant to last.

Rental agreements should also be clear about the security deposit for the rental and how it is to be used. For example, does it cover the rent in case the tenant defaults, or repairs in the midst of the tenancy period caused by the tenant?

 

4. Repairs

 

It s crucial to outline the way repairs and maintenance will be carried out. This is to protect both the interests of the tenant and the landlord. Instead of going into rent-withholding haggling, having a previously worked out solution well laid out in the rental agreement gives you both a better chance of resolving issues amicably.

Related: How Does Rent to Own Work in the Year 2019?

Consequences of breaking a lease or rental agreement

As mentioned before, a lease and rental agreement are both legally binding documents which may result in legal action against the person who breaks them. The consequences range from prosecution to hefty fines and legal fees, a poor credit score and even trouble renting or leasing from other people.

However, there is a possibility to break a lease or rental agreement without repercussions as long as both parties are in agreement. Read about early lease releases that should be contained in the signed agreement. If this clause doesn’t exist try talking to the landlord or lessor. If you have a decent relationship they will probably agree and let you off the hook (at a cost, of course). Sign up to find out more about Zumbly’s housing and rental solutions.

Related: What Happens When You Break a Lease?

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Renting versus Buying: The Ultimate Guide

Renting vs Buying: The Ultimate Guide

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As the recession of 2008 closed out, the number of Americans renting absolutely skyrocketed. This surge came after a record-long period of renting decline from 1994 to 2004. Renting statistics show that it still remains a popular housing option in the United States. Even when homeownership continues to dip, renting remains a more affordable and flexible option. At Zumbly, we’re dedicated to helping you find the right living option for you. Here’s our guide to the difference between renting and buying a home.

Renting

A tenant pays for a rented property for as long as they occupy a space. The occupant and the property owner agree on an amount to put down on a lease agreement to be paid monthly. Apart from the monthly rate for the property, the lease also specifies a due date for the rent as well as renting rules and regulations.

Related: How Does Rent to Own Work in the Year 2019?

Homeownership

Homeownership is when someone purchases a house or pays periodic mortgage to acquire the house over a period of time. As people strive to attain financial freedom, a huge part of becoming financially stable is owning one’s home. 2019 has seen a dip in homeownership, but that doesn’t mean Americans are giving up on their dream homes. 

It just means they have to find more ingenious ways to make that dream come true. Sometimes, renting is the right strategy.

Advantages of owning 

It’s private property

The privacy that comes with owning a home can be transformative for people who value security and self-sufficiency. While the law definitely provides for the reasonable expectation of privacy even for lessors and renters, renting property raises the chances of exposure to public scrutiny (read nosy neighbors) compared to living on privately owned property.

Incrementally grows in value as an asset

A house increases in value over time. In addition, you continue to build home equity as you continue to make mortgage payments. Building home equity means you have an equivalent financial stake in your home and, should you need to, you can use the equity to liquidate some cash.

To increase the equity of your home, begin by paying as large a down payment as you can. If you can surpass the 20% ceiling for conventional loans, do so and then focused on paying off the mortgage as fast as you can.

You can renovate

When you own your property you can renovate whenever you want to. Not only does can you convert your space into the home you’ve always been dreaming about, but renovations can also increase the overall property value. Rental houses rarely, if ever, allow renovations. You can tackle renovations gradually so they’re easier on the pockets and increase property value over a steady period of time.

Homeownership is more stable 

Once you have calculated the mortgage payments, you’ll have a predictable monthly figure for the duration of the mortgage. Unfortunately, rents are not as stable. Rent increases happen regularly as unwitting tenants get priced out, particularly in urban centers.

Another aspect of stability with homeownership is that once you buy a property, you become invested in the community around. A home can help foster a sense of pride and belonging. 

Disadvantages of owning

It’s financially intensive

Owning a home is often a lifetime investment and commitment. The costs are always present whether you’re paying the mortgage, doing renovations, or simply keeping up with the regular maintenance of your home. A homeowner is responsible for minor repairs like a leaky faucet to the complete overhaul of the plumbing system. Unfortunately, despite the fact that mortgage payments are fixed, they’re also quite steep compared to rents.

Value growth is not immediate

Property doesn’t increase in value immediately. In fact, it can take several years or even longer. A homeowner needs to be okay with the lack of immediate equity gains. In fact, a new owner can expect to spend more than they’ll receive in value the first few years of ownership.

Related: Apartment Investing 101 – The Ultimate Guide

Advantages of renting

Renting is cheaper than owning (in the short term)

This is a short term reality. If you don’t have money to buy, renting allows you to live in a decent space that meets your needs at a fair price. Depending on the market, renting is generally cheaper compared to the payments you would have to make on mortgages of a similar property.

Besides, the rent payments include the additional utility costs that come with any building. The cost of a home does not include associated maintenance, taxes, and legal fees.

You can move

Renting allows one to move around more regularly, a useful benefit for picky renters and those whose jobs require moving around.  Leases are typically yearly contracts, so tenants have the flexibility to move away. Owning a home makes it exceptionally hard to change circumstances.

There are fewer responsibilities

The landlord is responsible for all the property costs, including property taxes and repairs for the property. If tenants avoid liability from purposeful or extensive property damage, they don’t have to worry about repairs and remodeling at all.

Disadvantages of renting

No tax breaks

Tenants aren’t entitled to tax breaks like homeowners are. Tenants also have no control over the rent fluctuations, which may leave them unable to afford living in the house. And unfortunately, rent fluctuations are tied strongly to inflation. The worse off the economy, the more unstable rent payments get.

Renting has rules

A tenant is subject to the rules and regulations put in place by the property owner. They cannot renovate or make any alterations to the house they occupy. Once you sign the lease agreement, you’re bound by the regulations stipulated within.

Choosing between renting and owning ultimately boils down to personal preference. For those interested in long term investments and permanence, owning is the right choice. But for those who still want to enjoy various properties before they settle for the “one”, keep renting, enjoy the views and take your time. Sign up for Zumbly to start checking out our homes for rent and for sale.

Related: Is Buying a Home without a Realtor a Good Idea?



 




 



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As the recession of 2008 closed out, the number of Americans renting absolutely skyrocketed. This surge came after a record-long period of renting decline from 1994 to 2004. Renting statistics show that it still remains a popular housing option in the United States. Even when homeownership continues to dip, renting remains a more affordable and flexible option. At Zumbly, we’re dedicated to helping you find the right living option for you. Here’s our guide to the difference between renting and buying a home.

Renting

A tenant pays for a rented property for as long as they occupy a space. The occupant and the property owner agree on an amount to put down on a lease agreement to be paid monthly. Apart from the monthly rate for the property, the lease also specifies a due date for the rent as well as renting rules and regulations. Related: How Does Rent to Own Work in the Year 2019?

Homeownership

  Homeownership is when someone purchases a house or pays periodic mortgage to acquire the house over a period of time. As people strive to attain financial freedom, a huge part of becoming financially stable is owning one’s home. 2019 has seen a dip in homeownership, but that doesn’t mean Americans are giving up on their dream homes.  It just means they have to find more ingenious ways to make that dream come true. Sometimes, renting is the right strategy.

Advantages of owning 

It’s private property

The privacy that comes with owning a home can be transformative for people who value security and self-sufficiency. While the law definitely provides for the reasonable expectation of privacy even for lessors and renters, renting property raises the chances of exposure to public scrutiny (read nosy neighbors) compared to living on privately owned property.

Incrementally grows in value as an asset

A house increases in value over time. In addition, you continue to build home equity as you continue to make mortgage payments. Building home equity means you have an equivalent financial stake in your home and, should you need to, you can use the equity to liquidate some cash. To increase the equity of your home, begin by paying as large a down payment as you can. If you can surpass the 20% ceiling for conventional loans, do so and then focused on paying off the mortgage as fast as you can.

You can renovate

When you own your property you can renovate whenever you want to. Not only does can you convert your space into the home you’ve always been dreaming about, but renovations can also increase the overall property value. Rental houses rarely, if ever, allow renovations. You can tackle renovations gradually so they’re easier on the pockets and increase property value over a steady period of time.

Homeownership is more stable 

Once you have calculated the mortgage payments, you’ll have a predictable monthly figure for the duration of the mortgage. Unfortunately, rents are not as stable. Rent increases happen regularly as unwitting tenants get priced out, particularly in urban centers. Another aspect of stability with homeownership is that once you buy a property, you become invested in the community around. A home can help foster a sense of pride and belonging. 

Disadvantages of owning

It’s financially intensive

Owning a home is often a lifetime investment and commitment. The costs are always present whether you’re paying the mortgage, doing renovations, or simply keeping up with the regular maintenance of your home. A homeowner is responsible for minor repairs like a leaky faucet to the complete overhaul of the plumbing system. Unfortunately, despite the fact that mortgage payments are fixed, they’re also quite steep compared to rents.

Value growth is not immediate

Property doesn’t increase in value immediately. In fact, it can take several years or even longer. A homeowner needs to be okay with the lack of immediate equity gains. In fact, a new owner can expect to spend more than they’ll receive in value the first few years of ownership. Related: Apartment Investing 101 – The Ultimate Guide

Advantages of renting

Renting is cheaper than owning (in the short term)

This is a short term reality. If you don’t have money to buy, renting allows you to live in a decent space that meets your needs at a fair price. Depending on the market, renting is generally cheaper compared to the payments you would have to make on mortgages of a similar property. Besides, the rent payments include the additional utility costs that come with any building. The cost of a home does not include associated maintenance, taxes, and legal fees.

You can move

Renting allows one to move around more regularly, a useful benefit for picky renters and those whose jobs require moving around.  Leases are typically yearly contracts, so tenants have the flexibility to move away. Owning a home makes it exceptionally hard to change circumstances.

There are fewer responsibilities

The landlord is responsible for all the property costs, including property taxes and repairs for the property. If tenants avoid liability from purposeful or extensive property damage, they don’t have to worry about repairs and remodeling at all.

Disadvantages of renting

No tax breaks

Tenants aren’t entitled to tax breaks like homeowners are. Tenants also have no control over the rent fluctuations, which may leave them unable to afford living in the house. And unfortunately, rent fluctuations are tied strongly to inflation. The worse off the economy, the more unstable rent payments get.

Renting has rules

A tenant is subject to the rules and regulations put in place by the property owner. They cannot renovate or make any alterations to the house they occupy. Once you sign the lease agreement, you’re bound by the regulations stipulated within.

Choosing between renting and owning ultimately boils down to personal preference. For those interested in long term investments and permanence, owning is the right choice. But for those who still want to enjoy various properties before they settle for the “one”, keep renting, enjoy the views and take your time. Sign up for Zumbly to start checking out our homes for rent and for sale. Related: Is Buying a Home without a Realtor a Good Idea?  

What to Know About Buying a House with Leased Solar Panels

What to Know About Buying a House with Leased Solar Panels

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It is a complicated process when an individual wants to buy a house with leased solar panels. Solar panel leases can last anywhere from ten to twenty years. Plus, it can be expensive to buy out of the contract or roll it into a new house purchase with a mortgage service provider.

Solar leases also operate on an escalating payment system, which poses an ongoing liability while under personal ownership. In situations where a solar lease increases one’s debt-to-income ratio, there may be other hurdles to clear when going through the mortgage qualification process. Be sure to review the solar lease contract before signing on the dotted line.

Is it possible that a highly-touted initiative can end up costing a family time, money, and well-being when purchasing a new home?

Possibly. Let’s take a closer look at the issues surrounding the purchase of a home with leased solar panels:

Related: Is Buying A Home Without A Realtor A Good Idea?

How Buying a House with Leased Solar Panels Affects Your Mortgage

Some homebuyers may balk when discovering that taking on a home with leased solar panels means qualifying for additional credit to take on the contract payments for up to 20 years. There is even the possibility that the solar panels become technologically obsolete after paying around $15,000 for the benefit.

Solar panels still generate energy now and in the future. It’s likely technology can create adaptations to account for the lag between technological advances and past purchases. However, the effects on one’s mortgage terms are more important to consider.

Ready to buy your first home? See how Zumbly can help!

Find Out Who Actually Owns the Solar Panels Before Taking on a Mortgage

There are upsides to purchasing a home with solar energy whether still on lease or purchased outright. The cost and energy savings alone are reasons enough. However, asking a few questions beforehand can help ease anxiety when it comes to taking over the contract.

First, it’s essential to find out whether the seller leased or purchased them. Even if they bought them outright, it’s possible they purchased the solar panels on credit. That makes the seller responsible for paying off the loan and providing proof of ownership before the sale takes place.

Related: Best Time Of Year To Sell A House

Increased Costs Mean a Bigger Mortgage for Buyers

It’s more challenging to obtain a mortgage loan with leased solar panels as well. Leased solar panels require additional funding that is unnecessary for most home sales. Find out what the lease agreement entails, including the contract term length and associated monthly fees.

A homebuyer may even want to discuss how the added cost of leased solar panels affects his or her overall financial picture, too. It may increase one’s debt-to-income ratio and end up being a disadvantage in other areas of a person’s economic life.

Ready to buy your first home? See how Zumbly can help!

How Solar Panels Affect a Home’s Value

Solar energy has amazing financial benefits since they are more efficient and offer tremendous cost-savings. Plus, it’s clean, green energy that puts power “back into the grid.”

First, buying a home with leased solar panels means that the job is complete. A family can start benefiting from their installation immediately without having to set-up and schedule an installation. Aside from long-term financial gains on one’s bank account, leased solar panels give a boost to the home’s overall value by $15,000 or more on average due to the immediate savings. It’s a form of equity that a buyer can’t afford to miss. In fact, it allows the individual to recoup most, if not all, of the original investment in case one decides to take out an equity loan or resell the home later on. Related: Buying A House Checklist  

Know What You Are Getting into Before Going Under Contract

Buying a house with leased solar panels does not disqualify a person from getting a mortgage directly. However, there are a few details to iron out with the bank and financial advisors before agreeing to the purchase. Transferring the solar panel lease is the major issue to address first. Each manufacturer has different terms, so it’s critical to understand how the process works. Obtain a copy of the lease and review it with an attorney to ensure the details are understood. It’s likely that the manufacturer requires proof of the pending mortgage before transferring the equipment into the new owner’s name. The prospective buyer must also inform his or her bank that the house comes with leased solar panels. Although rare, the lender may decide not to engage in this type of home purchase transaction. Buying a home with leased solar panels may be an excellent decision for homebuyers. However, one must determine the best course of action for his or her current and future goals before reaching a final decision. Ready to buy your first home? See how Zumbly can help!

Consider These Additional Issues Regarding Buying a Home with Leased Solar Panels

If a person is considering purchasing a home with solar panels pre-installed, speaking with the homeowner first is a good idea. He or she should be able to address the following questions:
  1. Are the solar panels leased, owned on a personal loan, or purchased outright?
  2. If they are under contract, what are the terms of the agreement?
  3. Who manufactured the solar panels?
  4. Who installed them?
  5. Did the installers guarantee their craftsmanship?
  6. Can you provide copies of the lease, warranties, and guarantees?
  7. How big is the system?
  8. How much power does the system generate?
  9. What was the difference in your energy bill before and after the installation?
  10. Does your utility service provider offer net metering?
Uncovering the answers to the above-referenced questions is the best way to dig for information regarding the terms and conditions surrounding a home purchase that comes with leased solar panels. Avoid engaging in any transactions in which the seller seems reluctant to answer anything. He or she may be hiding something that no one wants to take on.

Final Thoughts and Considerations on Buying a House with Leased Solar Panels

The main takeaway from this article that homeowners need to know what they are getting into when purchasing a home with leased solar panels before formally sign anything. It’s still an excellent investment. However, no one wants to encounter any surprises later on after conducting a transaction of this magnitude. If the homebuyer decides to take over the lease, he or she must be clear on what his or her long-term obligations are and discuss any rebate programs available with the utility company. Doing so can help factor in the real costs of purchasing a home with solar panels. Ready to buy your first home? See how Zumbly can help!
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How to Improve Your Home to Make More Money on Airbnb

How to Improve Your Home to Make More Money on Airbnb

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Airbnb is becoming a popular source of revenue for homeowners around the world. You too could enjoy passive income on your extra bedroom, house, or apartment. However, one of the things to consider is the security of your premises and guests, which you can guarantee by getting the best home security system you can buy.

Unfortunately, making money using Airbnb is proving to be difficult due to the increased number of listings. Here are a few tricks you can use to improve your home to make more money on Airbnb.

Looking to buy a home for Airbnb? Signup to Zumbly for FREE to find out the best investment homes for Airbnb. 

Step 1: Inspect and Design Your Space

Before you start taking pictures and uploading them on Airbnb, inspect the room or the home to identify any problems and fix them if any. This could include a leaky tap or a flaky wall that needs a fresh coat of paint. Here is a full guide on how to remodel your house

You will need to design the space with a unique style that will distinguish your listing from the thousands that are in your city or location. However, when designing or redesigning, think about the functionality of the space and how easy it will be to maintain it.

Related: How long does it take to buy a house?

Step 2: Take High Resolution Photos

It is vital that you only use high-resolution photos for your listing. Since potential guests are looking through thousands of listings, you must photograph every inch of your space in different angles.

On top of this, the more photos you have, the better. Better yet, you could hire a professional photographer to take the pictures and edit them. This will surely attract guests to your listing and make money.

Photographer taking photo in desert

Step 3: Be Honest in Your Listing

Most homeowners tend to exaggerate the truth about their Airbnb investment home, and this ends up costing them rankings and good reviews. You should not give the guests a chance to second-guess why they chose your listing over the rest. 

The bottom line is that you should tell the guests what to expect, and they will give you credit for your honesty in their reviews.

Step 4: Decide How Often You Want to Host Guests

Airbnb allows you to set the rules for bookings ahead of time. This includes the minimum and maximum stay limits, and you can block out the calendar a day before or after the booking. This will allow you to clean up and welcome the guest to a tidy home.

With the rules in place, you will know how to arrange your schedule to present a homey feeling worth five stars.

Step 6: Install  Home Security System

People are apprehensive of the security of their lodging facilities. For this reason, it is important to include information on how you plan to protect the home to make them feel safe. A security system is an excellent place to start. However, it will not only give the guests a sense of security, but it will also be for your benefit.

By having one of the best home security systems money can buy, you can pass on the costs to your guests and they will not mind as long as they feel safe.

Step 7: Interact with Guests

Think of the Airbnb guest as a new friend you have invited to dinner. You need to know the purpose of their stay through friendly interaction and mention whether you will be present during their stay at your house.

Step 8: Get a Superhost badge

Airbnb has a ‘Superhost Badge’ that is awarded to owners who have a current calendar among other criteria. However, the main purpose of keeping your calendar current is to avoid booking guests when you are not in a capacity to provide a holistic experience. This will result in guests leaving bad reviews.

Moreover, you could restrict how far and when guests can book your space. For example, you could reduce the number of months from six to three or less. Moreover, you could also block out the dates that you are not available to host guests.

Step 9: Price Your Listing Accordingly

When considering the pricing of your listing, you can use the auto-pricing rules on the platform, or you could set your own. The recommended pricing works well for people who do not have the time to keep up with the current real estate listings of the area.

However, if you have an event in your area, you could adjust the prices manually to account for the major bump in demand. With that said, always look at the pricing of similar listings in your area and standardize the price as you see fit.

Related: Best Real Estate Tech Startups

Conclusion

Airbnb creates an avenue for you to earn a passive income, but it is tied to the reviews you get from your guests. However, do not be discouraged with a few negative reviews; work on the feedback and improve the quality of guest experience in your home. Despite all else, the security of your guests should be the top priority. These tips will help you earn more money from your space.

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Beautiful Houses: 10 Best Styles

Beautiful Houses: 10 Best Styles

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There are some homes that make you sit back and think, “Wow, I wonder who lives there.” Our love of beautiful houses will never go away, and there are many different styles to differentiate one from the others. 

Some home styles have a rich history in our culture while others came from overseas. Here are ten of the most popular home styles. 

Related: Buying A House Checklist

 

Victorian Homes

With steep sloping roofs, large windows, and built-in furniture, Victorian homes are magical. This form of architecture made its appearance between 1830 and 1910 during the time of Queen Victoria. These homes are constructed with appearance and beauty in mind. The downfall is the functionality of victorian homes. They are sophisticated with their trim, rooflines, windows, and more. Looking at one is beautiful but maintaining one is a different story. 

Ready to buy your first home? See how Zumbly can help!

 

Log Cabins

Log homes originated as little cabins from the 1600s. At this time, they contained no rooms and no hardware. The people who built them used slotted logs to develop walls and flat roofs. Now, every time you enter a log cabin, it is a display of luxury and craftsmanship. These homes are popular in rural areas, and you’ll find them often on vacation retreats and resorts. You can build a log cabin almost anywhere, but the climate will determine what type of wood to use. 

 

Tudor Style

Tudors are some of the most beautiful homes in the world. This design hails from England. It’s known for a steep pitched, multi-gabled roof with timber framing. They are most popular in snowy climates because of the steep pitch roof, so you’ll often find them in large quantities along the east coast and New England. 

Tudors typically have incredibly elaborate chimneys with highly involved masonry and stucco in between the timber framing. These homes were most popular before World War II, and most of the Tudors built after are a playful rendition of the original design. 

Related: Best Time Of Year To Sell A House

 

Colonial Style

You can tell a Colonial home by looking at its symmetry. These houses will feature a square design with lower and upper-level windows directly over one another. There were many variations in the 1600s when this style was popular but back then it was a highly formal style of design. The royalty and wealthy people who owned these homes wanted their house to appear neat and orderly at all times. 

Ready to buy your first home? See how Zumbly can help!

 

Contemporary

Contemporary is a word used to describe a wide assortment of modern homes. Today’s architecture varies dramatically from updated art deco to new craftsman style homes. Regardless of the specific design, there are a few components used to describe a modern home. Contemporary houses feature an open floor plan with plenty of connection between indoors and outdoors. These homes feature sustainable materials with a lot of natural light. They also components that are energy efficient with plenty of non-toxic materials. 

Related: Is Buying A Home Without A Realtor A Good Idea?

 

Cape Cod

This style of home made its way into the United States around the 1600s. These beautiful homes mimic cottages in Britain. Some of their characteristics are steep roofs, large chimneys, and dormer windows. Many owners of Cape Cod homes talk about their second-floor having sloped ceilings due to the low roofing design of this style. These homes are usually modestly priced, and they didn’t grow in popularity until after World War II. 

Ready to buy your first home? See how Zumbly can help!

 

Craftsman Style

Often called a Bungalow, Craftsman style homes feature a large “wrap-around” porch, with low-pitched roofs, and natural building materials. This home style is old, and if you travel to certain areas of the country, you’ll find Craftsman style homes lining the streets because they built a ton of them at one time with all the same design. On the inside, Craftsman homes feature an open floor plan with built-in furniture and exposed beams. 

If we take a look at the difference between a Craftsman and Bungalow, you’ll find that there is no difference. The word Craftsman refers to the Arts and Crafts movement, while Bungalow is a word used to describe this design. 

The modern Craftsman has started to make its way into architecture and compared to the original design; this one features gabled roofs and a more open interior floor plan. 

Related: How Long Does It Take To Buy A House?

 

Mediterranean

Brought to the US from the place for which it’s named, the style was most popular in the early 1900s. You’ll find the design mostly by bodies of water up and down the coastline. These beautiful homes usually feature plaster with red tile roofs and high arches. The design has many ornamental features like fancy balconies, luscious courtyards, and indoor fountains. Many also have a grand entrance with a big wooden castle door. 

Ready to buy your first home? See how Zumbly can help!

 

Ranch Homes

Ranch is a widely used word to describe a usually single level home with an attached garage. These houses were built less for appearance but more for functionality. These started popping up around the 1930s modeled after Western Ranches. They feature a modern design with plenty of connection between indoors and outdoors. Split-level designs are also categorized under ranch style. Exterior details are usually quite modest and plain. 

Related: What Happens When You Break A Lease?

 

Greek Revival

We still see some of these homes present in the United States. They are popular in areas of affluence, and you’ll often see a bunch of them in the same neighborhood. These are inspired by Greek architecture and were most popular in the country during the mid to late 1800s. 

The Greek Revival is noticeable by its large columns, painted plaster, symmetrical shape, and intense moldings. This beautiful home style does not skimp on the details or expenses. If you purchase a home like this, expect to pay top dollar to maintain it. 

 

Final Thoughts

After taking a look at some of the most beautiful homes and designs, you might be unsure of which to choose. There are many more options beyond these, and the possibilities are endless as we continue to develop new technology to bring old architecture back to life. 

Ready to buy your first home? See how Zumbly can help

 

Apartment Investing 101: The Ultimate Guide

Apartment Investing 101: The Ultimate Guide

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Apartment construction is at a record high, and the number of apartment rentals rose by 11% compared to last year in the U.S. 

Even amongst the concerns of an imminent recession, the market is still hot. After all, recession or not, people need homes right?

This spells opportunity when it comes to apartment investing. There’s always REIT funds that can be purchased but directly looking for investment opportunities in the real estate market around you is a sure-fire way to pay large dividends in the future. 

So how does one get started with apartment investing if they’re looking to get into real estate investing? And why apartments over other investment opportunities?

Related: Buying a House Checklist

The Benefits of Apartment Investing

Stable investment product

Compared to other real estate investment products such as office or retail space, multi-family residence comes with less risk and volatility. This is because they often don’t involve high turnover and tenant composition in these apartments usually dictate stable long term occupancy. 

Build equity

On top of gaining monthly income that goes towards paying off the mortgage-related to the apartment. As the unit(s) appreciates, this is an asset that’s gaining value and building equity for the investor. 

Low-cost debt

Lenders love apartment investment loans due to the stability and high-occupancy rates involved for attractive investment options. This means the cost of capital is low and there are many low-interest loan options to use. 

Monthly dividends

Compared to investments in the stock market that may not pay dividends, apartment investments are guaranteed large sums of monthly dividends. This is great for improving one’s cash flow and these dividends can be reinvested in other investment products. 

Inflation protection

Compared to cash and stocks, investing in real estate is a strong way to protect against any future inflation and protect the value of one’s wealth. It’s also a tangible asset, one that can’t vanish overnight due to sporadic market movements. 

Related: How to Make an Offer when Buying a House

Obstacles

It’s not all benefits when it comes to apartment investing, and there are some drawbacks to be aware of.

Higher down payments

Lenders are often skeptical of non-owner occupied residence loan applications. This means that acquiring a loan will involve higher down payment requirements of 20 to 30 percent, and in rare cases, higher interest rates compared to if it was to purchase an owner-occupied unit. 

It’s not a liquid asset

Compared to cash, or even investment in the stock market. Investing in apartments means the asset isn’t liquid and will require time and effort to liquidate if one needs to sell the apartment for funds. This can put a strain on one’s finances if a significant amount of their net worth is locked into this asset. 

More active management

Apartment investments come with actively managing the unit and collecting rent. Airtight rental agreements must be drafted that outline payments and actions carried out in case of defaults such as late payment penalties. If tenants are unable to pay, many times there are state regulations in place that can have the tenants remaining in the unit rent-free until the case is resolved with mediation between the owner, tenant, lawyer, and state boards. All of this may occur with the owner on the line to pay monthly mortgage payments without any rental income. 

This extends to the active management of the unit itself. Any issues with the apartment that require maintenance will commonly have the owner on the hook to fix. This can be avoided by hiring property managers but will require a portion of monthly rent going to the management firm.

Related: Best Time of Year to Sell a House

What to look for when investing

1. Goal setting and financials

Investing always starts with goal-setting. One must have a clear idea of why they are investing in an apartment and what level of risk and return they are comfortable with. 

Based on this, one can narrow down the apartments that fit this criterion and evaluate the financials of the apartments. When looking at financials, the net operating income of the apartment is most important. What’s the annual income of the apartment currently and does it exceed annual expenses? Don’t trust any numbers shown on the agent or brokers brochure but investigate thoroughly to see if the numbers indicate a positive return on investment. 

2. Location!

With any real estate investment, location trumps all and dictates how the future holds up. This means one must scout the neighborhood and significance of the location thoroughly. Research metrics such as crime rate, commute times, and nearby amenities or landmarks. 

Take into account nearby ‘reasons to live’ when looking at the location. For example, is there a nearby university or large business complex? These will mean there are a growing and consistent demand for housing nearby to these areas for those that work or study in these establishments. 

3. Vacancy rates

Historical vacancy rates are important when it comes to determining the attractiveness of an apartment to invest in. If the building has a low vacancy rate and many units are off the market very quickly after listing, this is a good sign. 

4. Building history

Older buildings may come with a lot of hidden costs that an owner is unaware of. These buildings will have more maintenance issues that can drive any building maintenance fees, adding to the total monthly cost of owning the unit. It’s good practice to have a professional inspection carried out and visit the building often to notice if there any issues such as elevators out of service to gauge this. 

5. Management competence

Finally, be sure to evaluate the competence of the building management team. This team handles the day to day of the building and ensures any small maintenance issues are handled. They also ensure the apartment building is well kept, clean, and safe for residents – all of which will impact how attractive it is to be rented out by prospective tenants. 

Investing in an apartment can be a great way to build equity and gain passive income. Real estate values over the course of one’s lifetime are only guaranteed to rise with small corrections. This makes it a perfect vehicle for one to build their worth and gain passive income for retirement. 

Ready to start investing? See what Zumbly can do for you!

 

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Investment scores, estimated rental values, estimated mortgage costs, and any other financial or other data contained herein cannot be guaranteed as accurate and should not be solely relied upon in making any investment decisions. Users of this information should conduct their own due diligence before making any investment decisions and Zumbly shall not be responsible for any inaccurate information or estimates listed herein.