Rental Properties 10 Ways To Increase Income What To Ask When Looking At Potential Homes Canadian Realty Holding Its Own How Luxury Homes And Fine Living Are Defined In Northern California

What if you want better cash flow from your rental properties? You can’t just raise the rents arbitrarily. If tenants leave, income goes down, not up. There are other ways, though, including the ones listed below.

1. Install coin-operated washing machines. Even if you don’t have the money to do this yourself, you can find a company that will do it for you, and share the income with you.

2. Rent extra parking space. When I got tired of a renter’s extra car, I just started charging a weekly fee. Then I didn’t mind so much.

3. Raise the rent. Okay, we did dismiss ARBITRARY rent hikes as a cash-flow solution, but check on the rates for similar units. Are you renting at below-market rates?

4. Rent storage sheds. Especially if your apartments are small, your renters may need a place to store their things. Don’t let them spend their money elsewhere. Put a few sheds on the property.

5. Enforce late fees. It is perfectly fair to have a fee for late payment of rent, and guess what? Those who are chronically late usually don’t even mind – they just don’t look at these things the same way as others.

6. Offer improvements for rent increases. If it’s worth $25 more monthly rent to a tenant, install that dishwasher. Even on a credit card you’ll pay less than that per month for it.

7. Install vending machines. If your rental properties are large enough, others will do this for you for free, and give you a share of the income.

8. Rent by the room. A four-bedroom house might make more money if you include all the utilities and rent by the bedroom. This has made a lot of fortunes for investors in college towns. It does mean a lot of management, however.

9. Rent-to-own sale. Usually there’s a non-refundable deposit, and higher than market rents in these deals. When renters change their minds, as they often do, you got the deposit and better cash flow. This is great when poor cash flow makes you want to sell. You either sell or get the better cash flow as you repeat the process.

10. Reduce expenses. Every dollar of expense you cut goes straight to the bottom line. List every expense of your rental properties, and look at them one at a time. How can you reduce them?

Buying a house can be an intimidating and overwhelming experience. Here are some key questions to ask yourself and sellers before plopping down a down payment.

What To Ask When Looking At Potential Homes

Following is a list of general questions you should always ask when considering making a real estate purchase. Keep in mind, however, you are unique.

You have particular dislikes and likes as well as factors in your life that are different than other people. The point I am trying to make is that you shouldn’t stick to just these questions. You are making an important choice, so give some thought to your situation.

1. Don’t rush into things. The first question to ask should be directed at yourself. What type of home do you want? How big should it be? What amenities do you want? Are you planning for a family in the next three to five years and will the home be able to accommodate a new bundle of joy? Make a definitive list and stick to it. If you stray from it, you could end up with a house that doesn’t really fit you and suffer buyer’s remorse.

2. The next question is what area do you want to live in? Pick a few. You may find the prices to be excessive or the selection not so hot, but make sure you exhaust those areas before moving on. Again, you want to avoid buyer’s remorse.

3. Once you start looking at homes, a key question to ask is how long the house has been on the market. The amount of time will give you an idea of how flexible the owner is on price. If the house has been on the market for a month, the owner isn’t going to be very flexible. If it has been on the market for six months, flexibility will definitely exist.

4. Has the house previously been in escrow, but fell out? If so, find out why? Was it a problem with the buyer getting financing or did the buyer find out there was something wrong with the home?

5. What kind of condition is the house in and how old is it? Remember that a seller has typically done everything reasonably possible to spruce up the home. If you can see wear and tear on the house, it may be a red flag. In such a situation, you need to get a home inspection to make sure there aren’t problems in areas you can’t see such as mold, rust and water leaks.

6. If you have children or are planning on it, you must investigate the school district. Are the schools good? Are there gangs or crime in the area?

7. In addition to the home price, you should ask whether there are any additional fees such association fees.

8. What are the property taxes and what will they be when you buy? Many people are shocked to find out how much they have to kick out in property taxes. Don’t get surprised.

9. Zoning and easement issues are often overlooked when buying a home. If you are buying in a neighborhood with many homes, zoning is undoubtedly going to be for residential living. Easements, however, can be nasty surprises. Find out if there are any easements on the property. An easement gives a third party the right to use of part of the property. This can include giving the neighbor the right to do something or a utility company to place structures on your prospective property.

10. Noise is another big issue to consider. If you are serious about the property, make sure to drive buy on weekdays and weekends. If the property shares a wall with another residence, such as a duplex or condo, make sure you view it while the neighbors are home to get an idea of how loud it is.

11. In the euphoria of buying a property, practical issues can be missed. A big one is traffic. Specifically, what is the commute like between the house and your place of work? You don’t want to buy the house only to find out it takes three hours to get to and from work each day.

Obviously, you should be asking many additional questions before making a purchase. These 11 questions, however, will help you get started.

The annual winter lull in the real estate market means that the time is good for prospective buyers who like to take their time. With Canadian unemployment at a 33 year low, the realty market looks like holding strong.

It is difficult for many of us Canadians to accept that while the US realty market may be floundering, the Canadian market is steady. In fact, due to the strength of our dollar and the weakness of the US dollar against International currencies, many Americans are actually buying into Canada to preserve their funds.

While coastal and lake areas would seem an obvious choice for American speculation, many are buying properties simply as an investment project. Renting a condo is one of the easiest way to make money and have the property ‘buy itself’, and condo sales everywhere have jumped as people are realizing the enjoyment of life without maintenance!

Condominium prices in Ottawa have been climbing upwards all year, with an increase of 7% over this time last year. The strong job market was partly the cause of this. The increase in national employment has marked the 15th. straight year of national employment growth.

In Calgary, condos are also a good investment and offer a reasonable price range if you are trying to get started on the property ladder. The increased inventory of all properties has slowed the market at the moment, so now is a good time to look for a condo. Some builders have even dropped their prices, so brand new ones can be snapped up by the shrewd buyer.

Despite the changes emanating from the famous revisions to the oil royalty revenue, Calgary has a strong economy and has seen a large population increase. According to one national forecast, it is poised to experience moderate growth and a sustainable real estate market though 2008.

Average house prices in Calgary are set to increase by 4% and in a slower moving market, first time buyers may be encouraged to put their toe in the water.

One of the mandatory requirements for a mortgage for first time (or any other) buyers is a good credit rating. If there is no credit rating recorded against you then apply to a bank for a credit card. They may require you to deposit $500.00 or $300.00 and then you will be required to leave that untouched in the bank as security.

By using your card every month, and paying it every month – on time, you will begin to build up a good credit history. Of course, other data is required by a lender. You will need tax forms showing your income and a letter on headed notepaper from your company stating your earnings.

It is always advisable to get “pre-approved” before looking for a house. This means you sort out the finance before checking out the realty. If you proceed in this order, you will know if you have to save more money for the down-payment, or which price range you can look in when choosing.

Things often ‘heat up’ in the housing market in the spring, so now may be a good time to invest in some Canadian realty.

Those who are looking for El Dorado Hills real estate are often looking for a luxury home in this small bedroom community, just 25 miles east of Sacramento, California, and an hour’s drive south and west of Lake Tahoe on the Nevada border.

Luxury home shoppers are generally looking for a home that is in a beautiful area and that has spectacular views. They are looking for elegance, prestige, convenience and amenities that make a home more than just a home. The El Dorado Hills area, which has yet to be incorporated, meets these criteria hands down.

Families began to call this area home as far back as 1962, and it remains a popular destination for homebuyers due to its clean environment and its easy access to many outdoor activities including camping, fishing and hunting.

El Dorado County provides easy access to ten major reservoirs and boasts of 11,640 acres of lake water. El Dorado County is also home to 575 miles of rivers and streams and nearly one million acres of national forest land.

What makes a house more than just a home? What takes an ordinary home and shows buyers that they are looking at a higher quality California luxury home?

In both El Dorado County and El Dorado Hills, luxury homes may share a number of characteristics:

1. A luxury home will take into consideration how restful and relaxing an upscale bathroom can be. As a result, homebuyers are likely to find infrared saunas, steam showers or jetted bathtubs large enough to accommodate two;

2. A state-of-the-art kitchen will often define a luxury home, above its counterpart in another location. Top-of-the-line, energy-efficient appliances, marble slab or granite countertops, subtle but creative lighting, stone floors and plenty of preparation space allow those who own luxury homes to do more than prepare a family meal. These kitchens provide enough space and ease-of-use to ensure a successful party or family get-together;

3. Luxury homes often create more than just a master bedroom – they create a place to escape to after a long day, a retreat. In the master suite, you’re likely to find a comfortable, spacious area designed for more than just sleep. Effective lighting, built in bookshelves, rich soothing colors and a reflection of the homeowner work together to create the perfect spot to unwind and relax;

4. Luxury properties are often pre-wired for both security systems and for a home theater experience. When homebuyers invest in a luxury home, they want to be assured that they can protect their investment and their family. They also wish to be able to have the convenience of entertaining others and spending time with their families; a home theater offers both those opportunities and more;

5. A luxury home is often characterized by it’s exterior as well as its indoor features. Landscaped gardens, fountains, beautiful wood decks, gazebos, and enclosed or open-air hot tub rooms that enable the homeowners to relax outside of their homes with the same comfort and beauty that they find inside; and

6. Luxury real estate is often further set apart by providing homebuyers and homeowners with a sense of exclusivity. Many luxury homes are within the gated communities, frequently near private country clubs, golf courses, or lakes such as Folsom Lake, offering a lifestyle experience as well as a beautiful environment to call a home.

Many homes that can be considered El Dorado Hills real estate, as well as those in the more general category of El Dorado County real estate, can best be described as luxury homes.

In both cases, homebuyers are likely to find homes with built-in wine cellars. A luxury home in the El Dorado Hills area may have a zero edge pool, a waterfall, breathtaking views, and interior accents of cherry or walnut along with slate floors. A luxury home in Eldorado County may even have an outdoor wet bar, a touch-pad automated security and lighting system, or even a multi-seat home theater that will allow the owners to entertain a dozen of their closest friends.

Ultimately, the defining characteristic of a luxury home is a living space that is tailored to the owners’ style, interests and preferences.

A luxury home is not merely a roof over your head: a luxury home is a reflection of the individual you, and what is important to you in your life.

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