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How to Choose a Property Manager for Your Rental Home

Happy owners, happy tenants — it all starts with the right property manager. You would never turn your home over to a stranger, so choosing a property manager shouldn’t be any different — finding one you trust is vital. “You are entrusting probably one of the biggest investments you’ll make into the hands of someone else, so you want to make sure you feel confident that they’ll handle things the way you want them to,” says Grace Langham, CEO of Nest DC, an award-winning boutique property management firm in Washington, D.C. Dependability and trustworthiness are two key points all homeowners should keep in mind when assigning their home or condo to the loving care of a third party. But before handing over the keys, consider these six other factors to help you find the right property manager.


5 Apps That Make Designing Your Home So Much Easier

Redecorating your home — or even just switching up your decor a little bit — can quickly become a huge undertaking. It's almost impossible not to feel overwhelmed and confused about where to start or how to settle on a design you're comfortable with. Luckily, there are a ton of apps that make the whole process a breeze. Need help framing your favorite Instagrams? There's an app for that. Trying to find a paint color that matches your favorite sweater? There's an app for that. Want to work with an experienced interior designer? There's an app for that. It shouldn't come as too big of a surprise though; we are living in the age of technology, after all. And smart devices help us with pretty much every other aspect of our lives, so would should decorating be any different? Read on for five design apps that are totally worth trying.


Best And Worst Advice For Buying A Home From People Who Have Done It Before

From trusting your gut to buying a foreclosure, here are 8 real estate tips these buyers will never, ever forget. Asking for home-buying advice is a little like asking for parenting tips. You’ll probably get some really good (and some really bad) suggestions. But when you’re scoping out homes for sale in Lawrence, KS, how can you tell the difference? And when should you trust your own instincts instead? Here’s a peek at some of the best and worst advice homebuyers have received about real estate.


DIY: Fixing 3 Common Household Problems

Little things go wrong in a home sometimes. These issues are usually too small to call someone about, but they can be bothersome nonetheless. Fortunately, you can easily fix these issues yourself. We’ll show you how to troubleshoot — and permanently correct — three common household problems that can occur time and again in a home: jammed garbage disposal, loose toilet seat, and sticking or misaligned door.


How to Measure Your Home's Square Footage

One of the most confusing and misleading metrics in real estate is area — the "size" of a house. Like most aspects of owning or purchasing a house, measuring the square footage of a home is complicated. There’s no established standard for measuring a residential property, and everyone seems to measure square footage differently. But if you get it wrong, it can affect your home’s value. There’s no need to be nervous about calculating your home’s square footage, however. Let’s look at how easy it actually is to measure a home’s square footage accurately.


Why You Should Consider Flipping Houses for Profit (Instead of Investing for Cash Flow)

You have to spend money to make money, right? So when you start out in real estate and purchase your first buy-to-sell house, you are going to find yourself rather cash poor. But that’s OK! In the long run, you are going to be making huge profits. It can be hard to see at first because your bank accounts may appear depressingly empty. Signing that contract, laying down that cash, and then paying for all the repair work… Ouch! But keep your eyes on the prize — the profit will be worth it in the end, and if you persevere, you will see green.


What Are HOA Fees? How These Dues Make Homeownership Easier

So you're searching for a home in your price range, and you finally find one that has all the bells and whistles your heart desires. The only problem is, there's a little thing called HOA fees attached. So what exactly are HOA fees, and what do you get for laying out all that extra cash? First things first: HOA is an abbreviation for “homeowners association,” which applies to the owners of condos, townhouses, or freestanding homes in a planned community. The fee, which is usually charged monthly, goes to maintain the common areas of that community.


The Open-House Questions You Need To Ask Room By Room

It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of an open house. It's staged beautifully, it smells great, and there's a friendly agent pointing out the charming details and thoughtful upgrades. It's important to look at a home with a critical eye. From requesting a sellers's disclosure form to asking pointed questions about each space, you can leave any open house with a pretty good idea of whether you'll want to make an offer or keep moving.


Is Renovating Cheaper Than A Teardown And New Build? (The Answer Might Surprise You)

Renovating your home could be just the thing you need to make it truly yours. But be careful: This decision could lead you down a never-ending (and stealthily expensive) home improvement rabbit hole. Here are five factors to consider when weighing your options, plus advice on how to make this costly financial decision.


Opportunity Knocks in the Best Cities for Home Flippers

It's the housing industry's own special recipe for the American Dream. It goes like this: Buy a distressed place for a song. Mix in some sweat, a whole lot of paint, and loads of improvements. Shake well. Relist, sell hard, and then make a big profit off your investment in no time flat! Take a nice vacation. Rinse and repeat.

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4 Reasons to Go to Open Houses (Even If You're Not Looking to Buy)

Not everyone who attends open houses is looking to buy. Here are four opportunities open houses present if you're willing to devote your weekend afternoons to them.


First-Time Millennial Buyers Poised to Revolutionize the Real Estate Market in 2017

You want a real estate revolution? We've got you covered: Next year, more than half of all homes will be bought by first-time home buyers, according to an exclusive survey of buyers by realtor.com®. It's a seismic shift from 2016. And here's the kicker: Most of those newbies will be millennials.


5 Tips for Haute Halloween Decor

Halloween is almost here, and before you know it, trick-or-treaters will be ringing your doorbell. Decorating your house for the season should be easy, fun, and bring just the right amount of spookiness. Follow these simple tips to bring hauntingly elegant Halloween flair to any area of your home...


6 Home-Selling Myths You Need to Stop Believing Immediately

When you get ready to sell your home, you might very well have a false sense of security. After all, you got through the hard part of buying. Now all you have to do is call a Realtor, put your home on the market, and wait for the buyers to line up. Selling will be a breeze, right?


6 Ways to Avoid a Reverse Mortgage Scam

Most people work hard to get to retirement age and enjoy the perks that come along with it, including not paying a mortgage. But imagine reaching that point and then being scammed out of the value of your home. It is actually happening with reverse mortgage schemes.


Tiny Home Traits: 5 Features Every Small Space Needs

Tiny homes appeal to many people, whether as a solution to surging rents or because of the freedom they can lend your lifestyle. But if you decide living in 400 square feet (or less) is for you, how do you actually make it work?

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What Is A Short Sale?

What is a short sale? In the most basic definition, a short sale is the process of selling a primary residence for less than what is owed with the approval from the current loan company. In other words, if you must sell your home that you owe $500,000 on but the home is only worth $400,000, the bank may approve a short sale and allow you to sell the home for a lower amount.


The "It" Paint Color For 2017

Time to paint the house taupe. Sherwin-Williams revealed its 2017 Color of the Year: Poised Taupe (SW 6039). The company expects the brownish-gray hue to become the year's go-to color for home interiors. Taupe marks a departure from the mostly cool-toned neutrals it has tended to favor recently. A 2016 industry survey suggests a transition from gray to taupe. Nearly 40 percent of survey respondents said they would like to use warmer neutrals – such as warm grays, taupes, or beiges – in their colors. What is more, about two in five respondents said taupe was the neutral they would most choose.


Plant Just One Tree

Planting one tree is not a huge effort. You will be helping our planet, too. Plus, once the tree is established, its about as low maintenance as a landscape can get — and the difference it can make to your yard lasts for decades. The key is to choose a tree that adds interest to your landscape in the form of color, shape, and texture. There are a ton of trees to choose from, but to play it safe, try a Japanese maple. Many are suitable for most any climate. They all offer color, form, and texture that can liven any landscape. The Mikawa yatsubusa, is a dwarf version that resembles a tie-dye shirt when it changes colors in the fall. You would not be lacking color then!


Secrets of Home Staging

There is a common belief that rooms will feel larger and be easier to use if all the furniture is pushed against the walls, but that is not the case. Instead, furnish your space by floating furniture away from walls. Reposition sofas and chairs into cozy conversational groups, and place pieces so that the traffic flow in a room is obvious. Not only will this make the space more user-friendly, but it will open up the room and make it seem larger. The second most important thing you can do to prepare your home for sale is to get rid of clutter by...


What Is a Loan-to-Value Ratio? It's the Key to Getting a Good Mortgage

If you're buying a home and apply for a mortgage, one critical factor in whether you secure financing is your loan-to-value ratio. So what exactly is this LTV ratio? An LTV ratio is simply the amount of money you borrow from your lender, divided by the purchase price of the home, expressed as a percentage. For example, let's say the home you have your eye on is worth $250,000 and you plan to make a down payment of 20% of the home’s price, or $50,000. That would mean you need a loan for $200,000. That would also mean your LTV ratio would be $200,000 / $250,000 = 0.8, or 80%.