Getting Your House Ready to Rent

Getting Your House Ready to Rent

Even if you bought your home to live in rather than as an income property, you may end up renting out your house at some point. A contract opportunity on the other side of the country (or the world), a drop in property values that means you want to build up more equity in your home before trying to sell it, or a formal or informal sabbatical might mean you want to rent rather than sell.

Here’s how you can get your house ready to rent. While it may seem like a lot of work and a moderate amount of money, it’s well worth it. Good tenants are attracted to well maintained, trouble-free properties, and good tenants are hopefully the only kind you’ll ever have to deal with.

Start With The Exterior

Make sure all your exterior maintenance is up to date. That includes landscaping, raking, gutter cleaning, roof repairs, and checking, cleaning and replacing exterior lights and/or sensors. Test and repair any exterior railings and make sure pathways are safe. Replace any broken interlock.

Get the screens cleaned and the exterior windows washed.

At Gay Realty Watch, we look for news to share with you about the gay real estate market – both lgbt real estate news and news specific to gay and lesbian real estate meccas.

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House Flipping as a Side Hustle

Lesbian Renovation - Pixabay

It’s hard to miss the cultural movement of home improvement that has swept the nation in the last decade or so. Countless television shows teach beginners how to DIY everything from bathroom cabinets to renovated basements, and the hosts of such programs have become household names. Learning house flipping for beginners is a bit more complicated than you might expect, however.

Still, now is a great time to learn. Thanks in part to stay-at-home orders and the increasing popularity of telecommuting, there’s never been a better opportunity to put your thinking cap on and acquire skills that can help you invest in properties to flip. Equal parts challenging and rewarding, flipping homes as a side hustle can be a lucrative pursuit. It also requires a great deal of effort and planning.

House Flipping Step One: Consider Your Location

Where you live, or where you plan to purchase your first investment property, matters. Southern Living explains that some cities, like Tampa, Florida or Birmingham, Alabama, are good places to buy a home to flip. Coastal Living echoes this sentiment, saying that Tampa is the best city on the coast to flip a home. Consider cost of living, the activity in the housing market, and the purchase price of an investment property before you move forward. 

Don’t be fooled by low property prices. Sometimes, houses are cheap, but you won’t have much luck reselling them once they’re fixed up. Generally speaking, a lower-priced home in a hot real estate market is a good investment opportunity for house flipping. However, it pays to talk to local real estate agents and contracts for more information before taking the plunge.

At Gay Realty Watch, we look for news to share with you about the gay real estate market – both lgbt real estate news and news specific to gay and lesbian real estate meccas.

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How To Buy a Home Within Your Real Estate Budget

real estate budget - keys - pixabay

Navigating the home buying process can be exciting, but also financially intimidating. While some of the societal and legal pressures historically faced by the LGBTQ+ community have improved over time, challenges still remain. Knowing how to prepare to enter the market can make the process more manageable for you. Follow these tips to learn how you can smoothly buy your next home while staying within your real estate budget

  1. Determine Your Financial Readiness. 

The first step in shopping for a house is knowing how much house you can afford in your real estate budget. To determine what is within financial reach for you, it is important to know your monthly debt-to-income ratio. A general rule of thumb suggests using the 28%/36% rule, meaning you should spend no more than 28% of your gross monthly income on home-related costs and 36% on total debts, including your mortgage and credit cards. If you are living in a dual-income household, factor both party’s total earnings into your calculation. 

Knowing your creditworthiness is an equally important factor in the home buying process as a good credit score boosts your chances of qualifying for a mortgage. To obtain a free copy of your credit report, check out some personal finance sites such as The Federal Trade Commission. If you find you have a low credit score, buying a home can be challenging, but not impossible. Resources such as FHA loans, which allow you to obtain a mortgage without some of the more stringent financial requirements associated with conventional loans, may be a good option for you to explore. 

Finally, to determine a realistic price range within your real estate budget and avoid overspending, create a wish list, identifying your home buying wants versus needs. Would you prefer a fixer-upper or something turn-key? How many bedrooms would suit your lifestyle? If you determine that location is a priority for you, consider house hunting in affordable cities such as Pittsburgh, Providence, and Virginia Beach. Creating a wish list will help to define the gap between the home of your dreams and the home you can afford. 

  1. Know Your Relationship Rights.

No matter your current relationship status, it is always a good idea to have all the details ironed out before committing to a major financial decision.  

  • Unmarried or Single

Homeownership may be the next big decision in your life! According to the United States Census Bureau, the number of unmarried couples living together has tripled in the last two decades, reaching 17 million in 2019. If you plan to purchase a home with a partner, you will want to clearly outline who will hold the title. The way the title is worded can impact how ownership is transferred as well as your rights to transfer ownership in the future. Some common options to explore include sole ownership, joint tenancy, and tenants in common. If you are a solo homebuyer, you have the advantage of calling all the shots! But, be aware that with one income and one credit profile, it may be a bit trickier to obtain a mortgage loan. 

  • Married 

Whether you are relocating or purchasing your first home, even as a married couple, there are several reasons you may want to purchase a home under the name of only one spouse. These could include protecting the buyer’s interests, planning the estate, saving money, or even to strengthen the chance of qualifying for a mortgage. For example, mortgage lenders often pay attention to the lowest credit score between the two of you, so if your spouse has a credit score that would prevent you from getting the best possible rates, you may consider leaving them off the mortgage. 

  1. Shop Around For a Mortgage.

When buying a home on a tight real estate budget, it is important to explore all your loan options. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends applying with at least three mortgage lenders to compare their rates. Do not be afraid to negotiate! If Lender A offers a lower rate, but you would feel more comfortable with Lender B, present the competing offer and see if Lender B will match or beat it. The mortgage loan process may be the most confusing part about buying a home, so it is important you feel secure in your decision-making.

Additional insight: Consider hiring a LGBTQ+ friendly realtor. Having a partner to guide you through the lending landscape will help ensure all decisions are truly in your best interest. 

  1. Save, Save, and Save Some More.

If you do not immediately find the perfect home within your price range, or learn that you are not as financially secure as you would like to be, consider waiting and saving. Patience is key and the right home will turn up before long. To come up with extra spending money, consider adjusting your discretionary costs such as canceling unused streaming subscriptions or trading Starbucks runs for fresh coffee brewed at home. 

Buying a home within your real estate budget is a major undertaking that requires the proper planning and preparation, but it is not unattainable. By taking the time to get your finances in order and researching the market thoroughly, buying a new home can be the next exciting step toward your future.  

Preparing Yourself in a Seller’s Market – Washington Blade

home for sale and piggy bank - deposit photos

For the first time, Millennials are cutting back on spending money on multiple streaming subscriptions, $10 drinks, and avocado toast. They are dipping their feet into purchasing their first home. The current “seller’s market” conditions can be tough for some buyers though, so being prepared is more important now than ever. 

Buying in a Seller’s Market

The first step in the home buying process is finding the right real estate agent. Your agent should be trustworthy and someone who is knowledgeable about the area, sales contract, and local programs that may be able to save you money. Once you find the perfect agent, ask them to refer you to their preferred local lenders. When talking with lenders, not only should you focus on interest rates, but also ask about their in-house processing and underwriting. This may be able to give you a competitive advantage against other offers in a seller’s market. 

Once you’ve decided on your lender, they will need several documents to help them determine your eligible purchase price. Now is the perfect time to get your documents in order, including 30 days of pay stubs, two years of tax returns and/or W2s and 1099s, and two consecutive bank statements. Providing these documents in a timely manner can help expedite the pre-approval process and prevent delays once you’re under contract.

The lender will also look at your median credit score from the three major credit bureaus. Since your credit score has a direct effect on your interest rate, it’s important to pay close attention to your score. If your credit score needs a little help, talk to your Realtor and lender to see if they have recommendations on how to boost your score or programs that may be able to help.

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Best Home Pricing Strategies – Washington Blade

Home Pricing Strategies - Pixabay

Pricing your home correctly from the start is imperative to a successful sale. We all love our homes and probably think it is worth more than it is. But that thinking can be a killer when it comes to pricing your home when you go to sell.

Home Pricing Strategies

There are three main home pricing strategies to think about when approaching finding the right price: Aspirational, Market Value, and Below Market Value.

The first thing to remember when pricing your home is you must think of it like a product. While it is still currently your home, in the minds of the buyers it is a product. And buyers will decide if that price you’ve set is worth what the house offers. If it isn’t, your showings will lag and offers will just not arrive. This will lead to longer days on market, which can be a huge turn off to buyers, especially in the D.C. market. 

So, what is the best of these home pricing strategies for you? It comes down to your specific property. What it offers, where it is located, the size, the condition, etc. It’s also helpful to see what the market norms are, so you are competitive. So before pricing any home, you have to do your research. You want to closely examine what similar homes have sold for in your area in the past year to six months. Seeing that data is a start to any good pricing discussion.

At Gay Realty Watch, we look for news to share with you about the gay real estate market – both lgbt real estate news and news specific to gay and lesbian real estate meccas.

Authored By Sherri Anne Green
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Freedom From Housing Discrimination – The Washington Blade

Freedom From Housing Discrimination - Deposit Photos

June 19. Freedom Day. Jubilee Day. Cel-Liberation Day. It commemorates the end of slavery when on June 19, 1865, Union general Gordon Granger finally made it to Galveston, Texas to read federal orders from 1861 announcing that all previously enslaved people were free. It is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.

Yes, this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation that became official on Jan. 1, 1863. The Proclamation had little impact on Texas due to the minimal number of Union troops there to enforce the new order. With the surrender of General Lee and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally numerous and strong enough to overcome the resistance.

On this year’s June 19, and with the world focused on equality for all, it is important for us also to talk about housing discrimination and equality in the home buying process. Despite being given the freedom from slavery in 1865, it wasn’t until 1968—52 years ago—that the Fair Housing Act was passed.

The Act, in simplest terms, protects people from housing discrimination when they are renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing-related activities. It prohibits discriminating against someone based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and/or disability.

Housing discrimination can come in two forms—direct and indirect. Direct is purposefully and impermissible basing the sale on a protected class/characteristic. Indirect is unconsciously applying a requirement or rule in the sale or rental of housing.

Full Story From the Washington Blade

Home Downsizing Dilemmas – Washington Blade

home downsizing yard sale - Pixabay

As a first-time buyer, you may have looked to your parents for down payment assistance, advice on what to look for in a home or as an extra sounding board during the process. As your parents get older and look to downsize their home, they may turn to you for the same support. 

Aging adults often need help with home downsizing so they can move into a more manageable home size, transition to an assisted living facility or relocate to a retirement community. When that time comes, you can return the favor your parents did for you and help them through their selling and buying experience. Trust me, they will need you.

It can be very emotional for older adults to leave the place they’ve lived in for years, raised their family in and have so many memories wrapped up in.

I’ve worked with numerous aging adults and parents. They have lots of questions, can get confused by the decisions to make, need questions answered more than one time and generally are overwhelmed by the financial decisions and emotional toll of home downsizing. So remember to pack your patience as you help them pack their belongings. 

Full Story From the Washington Blade