David Metzdorf's Blog
A moving checklist won't take all the stress out of moving, but it can relieve a lot of the pressure once you have everything accounted for. To give yourself a little extra sanity and peace of mind, we'll sketch out what a reasonable timeline should look like.
8 Weeks Before
Nearly two months before the move, you should begin going through each room and deciding what you're going to move and what you're going to throw away. You can start calling movers for quotes and ordering everything from bubble wrap to packaging tape.
It's important to keep the daily routine as-is, while still mentally preparing for the move. Start dropping off donation boxes of clothes or goods that won't be coming with you, and organize all of your correspondence in one place so it's easier to keep track of. We recommend having movers visit the home to give their quote as over-the-phone estimates may be unreliable.
4 Weeks Before
A month before the move is a good time to start packing up rarely used items, so they're ready to go when the time comes. This is also an opportunity to be even more ruthless with what you take versus what you leave behind. The more you get rid of now, the less you'll have to worry about organizing in the new home.
Start separating out valuables, measuring furniture, and filling out change-of-addresses with everyone from your credit card companies to the DMV. (Never assume a blanket change-of-address form will be valid for all organizations.) Store valuables in a safe, label boxes, and take a deep breath before the home stretch.
Last Few Days
Now is the time to get everything in a box besides the absolute necessities (e.g., toothbrushes, etc.) Refill any prescriptions so you aren't dependent on your new local pharmacy processing all of your paperwork immediately. Defrost the freezer now if you're taking it with you, and tune-up all vehicles so they're ready for the journey.
Create a manifest with everything you're taking and call the movers to confirm the final details. The final days are where things can really start to fall apart, and these are all preventative measures you can take so you're not dealing with a broken-down car filled with boxes on the side of the road.
Remember that moves rarely ever go according to plan. A moving schedule is dependent on everything from the weather to road conditions. This checklist is really just a way to curtail the possibilities of a major disaster. At the very least, it should help you feel more in control even during the most chaotic parts of the move.
Buying property is a long-term investment. If you’re looking to make quick income from property, the only way is to buy low and sell high with minimal input for remodeling, upgrades, or even paint. However, if you intend to keep your property as a rental here are a few of the basics to make it profitable sooner.
Show Me the Numbers
Say you buy a house for $300,000. To get a loan for an investment property you’ll need a minimum of 20% down; so in our scenario, that’s $60,000. Closing costs depend on so many things that even an estimate is difficult, but rule of thumb is three to four percent of the purchase prices. Go with an even $10,000 to keep the numbers easy. You’re out-of-pocket $70,000 by this point.
The mortgage is for the remaining $240,000, so a 30-year fixed rate at 4.5 percent makes your principal and interest payments about $1,200 per month. Add to that property taxes of about $6,000 per year, or $500 per month, and homeowner’s insurance for about $150 gives you a monthly payment of $1,850. If you have an HOA, that might be an additional $50 per month. That’s $1900 for the basics, every month.
These numbers do not factor in upgrades, changes, paint, flooring, appliances or anything else, so remember that those items eat away at your profit too.Say that you rent it for $2,500 per month. That gives you a $600 difference. From that amount comes management fees if you pay someone to manage it for you. It also pays for lawn care unless you turn that over to the renter. Plus, for every month it goes unrented between renters, you carry the entire amount.
Positive Cash Flow
You decide to manage it yourself and have the tenant take care of the lawn. Presuming no major systems require repair during the first year and you rent it within a month, you receive $27,500 ($2,500 x 11) in rent. You pay out $22,800 ($1,900 x 12) leaving you with $4,700 positive cash flow.
Assuming you never have to spend anything on repairs, maintenance, increases in taxes or refurbishing between tenants, it will take you 12 years and nine months to make back your down payment. Of course, if you raise the rent every year or so, you’ll shorten the time to repay the down payment, but you may lose more tenants.
Is It Worth It?
Yes! After year 12, your profits increase. But only if you follow these guidelines:
- Do buy in a nice, livable area where people want to rent.
- Don’t overspend for the property.
- Avoid frivolous upgrades with low R.O.I.
- Vet your tenants.
- Remove tenants that damage property or don’t pay rent.Use a property management and marketing service to reduce unrented months.
- Know the property owner and tenant laws in your municipality.
Some properties are more profitable than others or are profitable sooner. Your investment real estate professional knows the difference and can help you choose the right property for your investment situation. If you want to invest in real estate, let your professional agent guide you.
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Buying a home is a very detail-oriented process, and there's a lot of important things you can overlook if you're not organized.
Home buyers generally have the opportunity to do a last-minute inspection of the premises to make sure everything's up to standards prior to closing on the property.
A real estate buyer's agent can accompany you on the final inspection or provide you with advice on what to look for.
If you've already visited the home a couple times and had the house professionally inspected, you're probably well-acquainted with any major malfunctions, flaws, or repair issues. In many cases, home buyers may reach an agreement with the seller to fix, replace, or make allowances for mechanical or cosmetic problems. While real estate negotiations and sales agreements are as varied as the people and properties involved, there are typically dozens of things buyers need to check on before they sign the final documents and accept ownership of the property.
Final Walkthrough Tips
As you're doing the final walk-through of the house, it's necessary to remember or have notes on the condition of the home when you last looked at it. You'll also want to have a clear idea of what appliances, fixtures, and window treatments are supposed to be remain in the house after it's been vacated by the seller. Depending on how close your final walk-through is to the actual closing, that has probably already happened.
If there's anything missing that the seller agreed to include in the sale, then that's an issue you'll want to discuss with your real estate agent or attorney. Any property damage that may have resulted from moving furniture and other belongings should also be discussed before final papers are signed. The same thing would apply to landscaping changes that appear to be inconsistent with the sales agreement. Your buyer's agent and/or lawyer can serve as intermediary in getting these issues clarified and ironed out.
To make sure your final inspection is thorough, it's a good idea to have a "final walk-through checklist" to help keep you organized and focused. You'll want to take a last-minute inventory of items that are supposed to be included with the property sale, such as appliances, lighting fixtures, furnishings, window treatments, children's play structures, hot tubs, and anything else that was agreed to in the sales contract.
Other items you'll need access to may include garage door openers, manuals for appliances and mechanical systems, warranties, invoices for repairs made, and remote control devices for things like ceiling fans, alarms, and other systems.
Your checklist and final walkthrough should focus on a variety of items, including the working condition of appliances, the electrical system, plumbing fixtures, and the condition of walls, floors, ceilings, doors, windows, and landscaping features. For a complete checklist, look online or consult your real estate agent.
If your house is currently on the market or you're preparing to put it up for sale, the secret of success lies in the lyrics of an old popular song called "Accentuate The Positive." Although it was originally published in 1944, the song has been resurfacing for years on television, in movies, and music recordings.
"Accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative" may seem like basic, old-fashioned advice, but when homeowners follow it, they increase their chances of selling their home faster and for the highest possible price.
Although your real estate agent will provide a ton of helpful advice on how to present your house in its best light, there are dozens of things you can start doing now to improve its marketability, curb appeal, and the positive response you get from real estate agents and buyers.
- Avoid or minimize any aspect of your home and property that gives the impression of neglect. That could include anything from peeling paint and cracked windows to overgrown bushes and weedy yards. Weeds growing out of cracks in walkways, driveways, and concrete flooring often looks the worst -- but weeds, in general, always detract from the appearance of a home for sale.
- Reduce or eliminate anything that might create a feeling of "unpleasantness" in the minds of prospects. In other words, if there's anything about your home that might cause buyers to cringe, frown, gasp, crinkle their nose (in displeasure) or shake their heads, then you probably need to take corrective action -- and fast! A prime example would be pet odors, stains, and loose fur, which can be major turnoffs for many people -- especially if they have allergies!
- If little or no interior painting has been done over the past five or ten years, there's a strong chance that your walls are faded, marred, and looking worse for the wear. A couple coats of neutral-colored paint can often infuse a more vibrant, updated appearance to those tired-looking rooms. Subtle, light colors -- although, not necessarily stark white -- are often advisable. The objective is to appeal to as many people as possible, without taking any decorating risks that might alienate anyone.
- Speaking of "harsh versus eye-pleasing," your home's lighting is another important thing to scrutinize when looking for cost-effective ways to increase the attractiveness, appeal, and marketability of your home.