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March 2020

Whether you own a home or are looking to buy or sell one, here are some useful tips, ideas and advice. When you’re ready to make your move, give me a call or drop me a line.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Texas Realty
Nicki Turner
REALTOR®
563-343-7193
Nicki.Turner@BHHSTxRealty.com
www.NickiTurnerRealtor.com/

 

FINANCIAL ADVICE

Should You Manage Your Own Rentals?

The nice part about being a landlord/lady is the passive income stream, meaning you don’t have to be present to make money, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of work to be done. You can do all the work, or hire a property manager if you’re willing to pay someone else to do all or part of what you don’t want to do.

 So which makes the most sense for you? You should manage your own rental property if you are:

  • residing reasonably close to your rental
  • financially able to carry the costs of your rental while vacant
  • prepared to run your rental as a real business
  • able to market your rental
  • able to meet potential renters to show the home and negotiate leases
  • willing to do background and credit checks on potential renters
  • willing to collect the rent and enforce late notices and fees
  • willing to address tenants’ complaints in a timely manner
  • willing to deal with problems at any hour, day or night
  • handy with tools or have a good reliable handyperson on call
  • unafraid to deal with and evict bad renters legally
  • willing to abide by court decisions in any tenant-landlord dispute

Depending on where you live, how many properties you own, and which services you require, you can expect to pay 5 to 15 percent of your monthly rental fee to a property manager.

HOMEOWNERS’ ADVICE

Buying a Flipped Home

On the surface, the house looks great – fresh paint, new appliances in the kitchen, new carpet throughout and maybe an updated bath. The colors are modern and appealing and the home has been staged to perfection. That’s the goal of a flipped home - to make you feel like you could move right in without being bogged down with repairs and updates.

But, beware. While some home flippers are good, others are unregulated professionals who buy homes that are undervalued due to poor condition. They move fast to get the home back on the market quickly to minimize their holding costs. They seldom take time or spend the money to address high-cost items, like plumbing, foundations, and electrical replacement.

How do you know whether the home is a flipper-upper? Bankrate.com suggests getting as much information as you can about the home’s history:

  • Has the home sold within the last six months or so and for a much lower price than the current asking price?
  • Is the home owned by a non-occupying seller?
  • Has the seller owned other homes for short periods before reselling them?
  • Are the updates largely cosmetic? New sink, old pipes?
  • Were permits obtained where necessary?
  • Is a detailed seller’s disclosure, recent home inspection, and list of improvements available?

Your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional can help you get vital information about the home so you can look past the dazzle of new décor and evaluate this home fairly compared to other properties in your price range.

community events

Things to Do in the Austin area

Looking for things to do in the Austin area? Click here for more information on events in or around Austin during the next few months.

Don't want to head into the city? Check out these events in Williamson county.  Click here for more information.

Looking for events geared towards younger children and families? Check out the 365thingsaustin website to see updated events and activities to help keep the little ones entertained.

FINANCIAL ADVICE

The Best Homebuying Strategy

You don’t want to throw money away on rent anymore, do you? Instead, you can build an asset that can grow large if you handle your money wisely.

Your best strategy? Prepare financially now.

Down-payments.  Small down-payments spell risk for lenders. You’ll pay a higher interest rate, and you’ll have to get private mortgage insurance, about 0.5 to 1.0 percent of your mortgage. That’s about $2000 a year on a $200,000 mortgage, which will add about $167 to your monthly bills.   

While 20% down is ideal, paying PMI allows you to get into a home faster with less money down. You’ll benefit in a desirable housing market where home equity is rising.

The costs of homeownership. According to The Motley Fool, you should prepare to pay about two to five percent of the transaction in closing costs. Afterward, expect to pay for maintenance and repairs, which average about 1% of your home’s value annually. Property taxes can be reassessed annually by multiplying your home’s value by the mill rate (percentage) for your county. Prepare for utilities to rise in winter and summer.

Debt management. Money guru Dave Ramsey says buying a home when you’re in debt is like running a marathon with weights chained to your legs.

Rutgers University economists suggest your monthly consumer debt service should be no higher than 10% of your net income. At 20% or more, you’re in the danger zone. Divide your monthly consumer debt payments by your total net income to find your percentage.


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