rent apartment one week

5 Ways to Find an Apartment within a Short Notice

You may don’t have any intention to move to another place or at least not in the near future. But, who knows! You never know when life throws you a curve! You may have found a new job that requires you to move halfway across the country within a week or two. Or, a sudden change of circumstance may force you to change your current apartment when it’s just a week or two before your lease is up.

The search for a rental apartment takes time and effort. However, when you don’t have that much time, follow these tips:

Create a List

Take a piece of paper and write down the features and facilities that you want to have in your new apartment. Rate them as must-haves, nice-to-haves, and bonuses. Put your absolute necessities in the must-haves category while be ready to compromise on the other two categories.

For example, a pet-friendly apartment or a laundry in the apartment complex could be something that you can’t tick off while the hardwood flooring or a patio is expendable if you find other things suitable.

Dig Deep In the Internet

The Internet will be your best friend if you have to find an apartment within a short notice in an unknown neighborhood or city. The longer is your online research, the better able you are to spot the winners.

Hours of Internet sourcing will make you a semi-expert in the rental market of your desired area. Many websites will allow you to customize your searches, which makes it easier to find apartments that work for you and your lifestyle. You can easily find out which rentals accept pets and which ones have room for an office.

Be Proactive

You will need to be proactive in finding potential units, and that does not mean just searching online. Start by calling the apartment managers and the leasing agents in the area you seek to live for. Talking to them will give you an idea about the type of available apartments and if they are within your price range.

You can also start asking family, friends, colleagues, relatives, and acquaintances to see if they know about any rental apartment suitable for you. Spread the words in your social media circles and place online advertisements to speed up the process.

Drive around

Get in your car and start driving around the town or area where you seek to rent. If you need to move to a city in another state, go there for 3 to 4 days and rent a car to drive around your selected area. Write down the phone numbers and addresses of the places showing a “for rent” sign, and start calling to inquire about the properties. It will increase your chance of hitting a last-minute rental.

Be Prepared to Compromise

Finding your dream apartment in a week or two is tough. So, be prepared to accept an apartment that may not tick all the boxes you had in mind. Try to stick on what you’ve listed as must-haves and show an open mind in terms of other points.

home selling 2017

4 Reasons to List Homes at the Beginning of 2017

The housing price hike across the country was 6% on an average last year. However, the price hike is likely to remain between 3% and 5% in 2017. With a low inventory and rise of interest rates at the end of 2016, it’s almost certain that the housing stock will grow bigger this year.

So, if you have been planning to sell your home in 2017, it’s the best time to get cracking. Besides, starting early by listing your home at the beginning of the year will give you some advantages. Here are four of them:

It’s the Best Time to Move Up

If the reason for selling your home is to shift into a larger home, this is the right time to do it. There’s a speculation in the real estate market that the new Trump administration could force buyers to pay bigger down payments. Besides, home prices are also projected to increase this year. So, all the buyers will have to pay more in down payments and mortgage payments if they prefer to wait longer. It will also result in declining the number of eligible buyers.

Obviously, it could all just be a speculation, but you have nothing to lose except for gaining if you act fast.

The Competition is Lower Now

The inventory is still low in many areas where the number of buyers is more than the number of available homes. However, if you wait for a long time, additional inventories will be added to the market.

The increase in real estate value over the last two years has brought back the positive equity. So, many homeowners who could not sell their homes in the last few years are likely to list them in the upcoming summer. Besides, many builders have invested in the market, and the construction of single-family homes is continuously growing.

So, if you have a lovely home in a safe neighborhood, listing it early when the inventory is low will make the buyers lining up for purchase.

There’ll be More Serious Buyers Now

Buyers who hit the streets searching for a home in the dead of winter are serious customers or people who are in some urgency. Folks moving to another state or city, having a new job offer, or getting transferred to a new city will need to get in a home fast. Whatever their need is, these buyers are likely to make a reasonable purchase offer if they find a suitable home.

So, list your home before the spring starts and it may catch the attention of those serious buyers.

Interest Rate could Increase

The interest rates can rise this year. The rates have been low for a very long time. But, they started to tick up at the end of 2016. If the trend continues, it will increase the cost of the overall mortgage payments, causing the real estate market will see a drop in the number of buyers.

So, if the homebuyers think that the rates are going to rise more, they will hurry up rather than loitering more and paying higher mortgage payments.

Most sellers regret about not acting fast and listing the home when the time is favorable. So, do the renovations if your home needs any and get your finances in order when the market is right.

mortgage-refinance

5 Things to Consider Before a Mortgage Refinance

Refinancing is one effective way if you want to pay off your mortgage early. However, like every method, it has its perks and drawbacks. If you have decided to refinance your mortgage, you should know what you are signing up for.

Refinancing gives the homeowners an opportunity to restructure their finances. But, you have to consider some factors to figure out whether or not a mortgage refinance right for you. Peruse these few considerations before applying for a home refinance:

Home Equity

Your home equity is the first qualification that your lender will consider before approving the refinance. Getting an approval won’t be easy if the current market value of your home is less than what you owe to the mortgage lender.
Some government programs can help you if you have little or no equity. However, you should visit a lender and discuss your particular requirements and needs to know if you qualify for any such program.

Credit Score

Most lenders want a credit score of 740 or more to approve the homeowners the best mortgage interest rates. So, it’s not surprising if you don’t qualify for the lowest interest rates even after having a good credit score. Once in a year, you can get a free copy of your credit report from each of three major credit reporting agencies. So, get your copy and figure out if the score is enough to qualify for the mortgage interest rate you are looking for.

The Cost of Refinancing

If you apply for a refinance, you have to pay something between 2% and 5% of your loan amount as the closing costs, and you have to pay it upfront. So, if you’re refinancing a $300,000 loan, you are likely to pay an amount between $6,000 and $15,000 in closing costs.

You can opt for a no closing cost refinance, but that will demand a slightly higher interest rate. So, you need to calculate which option will be financially beneficial.

The Option for a Cash-Out Refinance

If your equity is good, you can apply for a cash-out refinance that will allow you to get a new loan for more than the amount you owe on your current mortgage. It’s a good option if you can spend the money sensibly. The interest rates for cash-out refinance are slightly higher than other refinance options, but it’ll be worth it if you spend the additional money to increase your property’s value.

Recovery Period of Refinancing Costs

You should consider the period because a faster recovery time is financially helpful. Your refinance costs and the revised mortgage interest rate will depend on the term, amount, and rate of your previous loan. It will be a favorable refinance scenario if you can repay the closing costs between one and two years.

Mortgage refinancing is a complex process and demands patience on the part of the homeowners. If you don’t know much about it, go to a reputable lender to figure out if you need refinancing and which option is right for you.

house-flipping-tips

How to be a Flipper in 2017

House flipping is going to be tougher because the Feds have hiked up the interest rate, rising house prices, and a tight inventory. Besides, the popularity of reality TV shows such as Flip This House, Flip or Flop, or Rehab Addict have encouraged more and more people to jump into this business of buying homes, renovating them, and then selling for a profit. So, competition these days are tougher too than it’s ever been.

What should be your strategies for the New Year either you are an experienced investor or a brand new flipper? The time is perfect for drawing out a business plan and strategy if you want to start flipping right after the winter holidays. Check out the following tips that will help you being ended up bankrupt if you are a noob and to do better if you’re already a flipper:

Create a Business Plan

No business can succeed without a solid business plan. Do you consider the flipping just an extra source of income? Well, even a side project is bound to fail without any direction. So, create a business plan about how many houses you want to flip, your strategies to renovate them, and how much money you are expecting as profits. Such a plan will help you determine your purpose and keep you on track.

Know the Market

The real deal about flipping house business is to be aware of the local market and past trends for the last six months. Take your time and do the homework on recent sales, comps, and the average selling time of particular properties. Such information will help you negotiate better prices, figure out good deals, and get a better estimate of your profit margin.

Know Your Buyers

Every flipper should buy and rehab houses with a particular type of consumers in mind. It means you have to figure out who are going to be your potential buyers and rehab the house with their possible demands and requirements in mind. For example, buying a house next to an elementary school means you have to rehab it by keeping young families with kids in mind.

Stick to a Budget

Budget depends on various factors such as the location and size of the house and how much repairs are needed. Determining a budget and sticking to it will keep you from wasting your money.

You must figure out the ARV or After Repair Value of your targeted property. It’s the estimated amount of the selling price after the house has been rehabbed and repaired. Your total investment, i.e. the buying price and the rehabbing costs, must not cross 70% of its ARV. Going over the number is likely to put you at the risk of losing your profit and sometimes the principal.

If everything is set, you should start looking for houses for flipping as soon as possible. Even if you don’t have plans to launch the business in a couple of months, early searching will help you start off on the right foot when you’re ready to roll out.

low-rent

5 Effective Ways to Negotiate a Lower Rent

It’s particularly difficult to negotiate a lower rent in a booming rental market. In fact, landlords these days don’t want to lower the rent even if you are willing to sign a long-term lease. In most cases, the renters have to rent the apartment or sign a new contract at the amount fixed by the owner.

However, fret not! Sharp tenants always find some ways to take a negotiation in their favor. Check out the following ways to know how to gain the upper hand while negotiating rent with your landlord:

Ask

Most people even don’t try to negotiate the rent thinking that it will upset the landlord! Don’t worry; you can still ask in a polite way. Just think from the landlord’s perspective and offer him a deal that he will find worthwhile. For example, you can offer painting the apartment in exchange for a slightly cheaper rent. You can also say that if he lowers the rent, you won’t need a common but costly renovation.

Do the Research

Another way to negotiate the rent is to show your landlord that you can live in quite similar rental units somewhere less for less money. However, you have to do a bit of research about the neighborhood to back up such a proposition.

Some websites such as Zillow, Trulia, Apartmentfinder, etc. provide information about rental units and their rents in various neighborhoods. Browse those sites and collect the information you need to show the owner that you can move to a cheaper rental nearby.

Offer to Help

Every landlord will appreciate a tenant who doesn’t mind offering some help. You can offer him to refer the vacant units of the apartment to your friends and acquaintances who are looking for rentals. You can also spread words about the apartment in your social media circles and give positive reviews on different rental sites. Going to extra lengths may convince your landlord to lower the rent.

Show Your Credit Score

If you have a good credit score, show it to your landlord. A good credit score is an indicator of your financial stability and responsibility. Your property owner expects you to pay the rentals regularly. So, a credit score with an impressive figure illustrates a history of on-time payments.

You can also have the upper hand if you have a stable job or produce the proof of a steady monthly income that is two to three times the monthly rental rate.

Bring a Guarantor

It’s you who are going to live in the apartment but bringing a guarantor into the deal will add to your credibility and help you having some leverage. It can be your parents, a relative, or a friend and it will add to your case if s/he has a good credit score.

You have to figure out the way that will work best for you. However, never represent yourself as a nagging negotiator because there’s a slim chance that any landlord will want to deal with an annoying tenant.

mortgage

4 Proven Ways to Become Mortgage-Free Early

An obligation to a financial commitment is stressful. Even if you are financially solvent and have no problem in paying your loans and mortgages, every homeowner is familiar about the mental strain the monthly mortgage payment can inflict on them.

The mortgage term is fixed and it can be short-term or as long as 30 years. The term is usually fixed during the approval of the loan, but you can still speed up the process to see yourself mortgage-free before the due time.

Check out the following tips to know how you can pay off your mortgage early:

Refinancing the Mortgage

It may seem daunting at first look to cut the term of your mortgage in half or several years, but the benefits will pay off in the long run. For example, if you refinance a 20-year loan into a 10-year one, you will not only shorten the payoff time but will also have to pay a significantly less amount of interest over the period of the loan.

However, the refinancing will also give you the responsibility of paying a higher monthly payment. So, don’t apply this technique if you don’t have a secure source of income for paying that amount of money regularly.

Refinancing with the Same Monthly Payment

It will be safer than cutting the loan term to half and starting to pay a much higher monthly payment than the current one. Do your research and refinance the mortgage into a term where you will pay a lower interest rate but the monthly payment will be same or close to the current one.

You have to spend some money to pay for the closing costs for refinancing, but the revised interest rate should negate the costs.

Use Unexpectedly Received Fortune

If you are unable to cover the refinancing costs and there’s no opportunity to increase your monthly income, you can use any unexpected good fortune such as money won in a lottery, inheritance, or bonus checks to pay off a portion of the mortgage. It still means spending a large sum of money to wipe out that big financial responsibility but paying this way won’t put any strain on your monthly budget.

Add to the Principal Payment

Adding to the principal payment, even just a small amount, will not only cut the total amount of interest paid but also shorten the mortgage term. Adding just $50 or $100 to your current monthly payment will yield magic in the long run.

Choose a method that suits best your financial conditions. The best way will be to refinance the mortgage into a shorter term go for other ways if you are not confident about your monthly income.

home-insurance

Common Insurance Claims Made by the Homeowners

Purchasing a home is one of the biggest financial moves in a person’s life. So, it makes sense to buy a home insurance for the protection of your property and its belongings from specified damage. Read More →

rental-secrets

5 Things You Should not Hide from Your Landlord

Living in a home means you have to deal with some particular problems – a leaky roof, a broken shower, a damaged window, or lost keys, maybe. Things are similar when you are living in a rental. Read More →

rental-apartment

5 Ways to Get a Good Deal on Rental Apartment

Renting an apartment does not involve the hassles and tremendous prep work involved in buying a house. However, it does not also mean that you’ll just shift into the first apartment where the landlord offers you cheap rent.

Choosing a rental apartment requires you not only to consider the monthly rent but also to consider the whole picture such as the neighborhood, median rent prices, proximity to workplace, etc.
We’ve discussed some factors that will help you determine whether you’re getting a good deal on your rental apartment:

Work on Rental Websites

Searching for rentals does not mean that you have to be out in the street and check every single unit that seems reasonable. Physical searching isn’t practical, and it consumes more time and money than online searching.

Many rental websites are there, and some of them have generous listings of rental units. These sites give you the option of searching with customized variables such as monthly rent, neighborhood, size of the apartment, etc. Some sites even allow the users to analyze and compare rent prices. Many local sites are there too that will help you finding the best deals in your chosen area.

Know the Neighborhood

Knowing the neighborhood is an essential prerequisite for making a good deal. Even if you find a rental in a nice apartment complex within your budget, the neighborhood may fall short of your expectations.

If you’ve fixed eyes on an apartment, drive around the area a couple of times at day and night. It will help you figure out about the traffic, noise, and parking condition of the area. You may also find out if it has a branch of your favorite diner or retail shop.

Calculate the Tax Rates

Some of you may have raised eyebrows because taxes are a concern for the buyers and homeowners. Right? Well, not exactly! Wage taxes are applicable in many cities and states. So, if you are moving to a new city such as Philadelphia, you’ll have to deal with a 4% wage tax, which is likely to make a sizable chunk of your paycheck.

Find out about the taxes and other fees before moving into a new county or city so that you face no problem covering up your monthly expenses in the new place.

Check the Building’s Maintenance

Even an old apartment can make a good deal if it’s well maintained. You surely don’t want to trade low rent for peeling paint, leaky roof, broken showers, or drafty windows. Ask the property manager when the building was last renovated or updated. Besides, take a good look around the apartment to find out if there’s any damage or if any area needs repair.

Negotiate

Asking your landlord to lower the rent won’t cost you anything. However, just asking or making a simple request won’t do the trick sometimes. Find out some points that the owner is likely to consider in exchange for cutting the rent. Flaunt your good credit score or offer the landlord to stay longer than one year. Most homeowners will negotiate if the renter is willing to sign a long-term lease.

home-insurance-facts

Insurance Facts that First-Time Home Buyers Should Know

You can legally purchase a home without buying insurance. However, if you’re going to apply for a mortgage, your lender will likely require you to buy an insurance policy as a way to safeguard its investment.

Buying home insurance for the first time can be overwhelming because you can choose from a wide variety of options. So, knowing some basic information on the coverage and other facts can help removing much of your confusion.

Check these common insurance facts before shopping for coverage:

Coverage in a Standard Home Insurance Policy

Standard home insurance policies cover some natural and man-made damages that are known as covered perils. You can expect compensation if your home is damaged by fire, lightning, windstorms, hail, explosions, vandalism, theft, and riot. Some water damages are also considered as covered perils.

However, damages caused by some natural disasters including earthquake and floods require separate insurance policies.
Let’s take a look at the typical coverage provided by a standard home insurance policy:

  • If a covered peril destroys or damages your home, your insurer will pay the cost of repair or rebuilding. However, the structure coverage for such damage will be different from the price you paid for your home.
  • If you need to live in a separate place during the rebuilding of your home destroyed by a covered peril, coverage for additional living expenses will pay for your food and hotel bills.
  • You’ll get contents coverage for your destroyed or damaged belonging. The typical amount of such coverage is fifty to seventy percent of the structural coverage. Talk to your insurer to get more coverage for high-value items.
  • The liability coverage will have your back if someone is injured on your property. It will cover the legal, medical, and other related fees.

Insurance Policy Cost Determining Factors

Some factors are there that determine the cost of your insurance policy. The insurance providers pay particular attention to the following factors:

Credit Score – A good credit score is likely to help you get
insurance with extended coverage.

History of Claims – If you’re not a first-time home buyer or owner, the providers will consider your previous claims before approving the insurance. In addition, the claims history of the area where your home is located will also influence the cost.

Location and Age of Home – You need to pay more or may need to buy additional policies if your home is located in a disaster-prone area. The same is applicable if the house is old, as it may require frequent repairs and renovations.

Additionally, the cost may depend on the type of coverage you choose and some other factors such as owning pets, proximity of your home to a hydrant or fire department, etc.

You need patience for buying your first insurance. Shop around and compare the rates and coverage provided by different providers to figure out the best option for you.