How to Get a Building Permit: Don’t Renovate Without It!

That's right—even though you own your house, you still need to get permits for structural changes, to ensure that your changes will be "up to code," as they say. Here’s everything you need to know about how to get a building permit. Do you need a building permit? How to apply for a building permit The great news is that getting a building permit is easier than you think—mostly because you probably don’t have to do it yourself. Unless you’re a pretty slick DIY-er, chances are good that your project is going to require a contractor, and that’s the person to rely on for the building permit process. First of all, contractors will know the ins and outs of the process for obtaining building permits in your local area, and they’ll also know exactly which permits you need, from structural to electrical to plumbing. Asking how much a building permit costs is a little like asking how much a house renovation will cost—prices vary wildly. The good news is that the upfront permit price will cover all additional inspections that the city will make as the work progresses, including the final sign-off. “Any work with a permit attached usually requires one or more inspections to be performed by licensed inspectors, to verify the work was done according to code, the plans on file, and any other requirements,” says McHugh. Building permit paperwork to keep Once the dust has settled—literally—on your renovation project, a final inspection will occur.

3 Rent-Paying Methods That Beat Mailed Checks Any Day

During the lease signing, when you get to the part that says how much the monthly rent is, this is a good time to collect the money for the first month’s rent. If a tenant moves in in the middle of the month, I don’t prorate the amount they pay for that first month. For example, if the rent is $1,200 per month, and they move in on January 10, they will pay a full $1,200 for rent when they move in but only $800 on February 1. One final note on the rent, only accept rent in certified funds, such as a money order or a cashier’s check. 3 Ways for Tenants to Pay Rent As for rent payments in the future, I recommend not picking up the rent in person, because this will only train the tenant to expect you each month. Dwolla: Similar to PayPal, tenants can use Dwolla to pay rent directly from their checking account for free. Currently, payments are just $.50 each and we use this when the tenant’s bank doesn’t work with Dwolla. Many landlords have different techniques for collecting rent, so be sure to check out the BiggerPockets Forums for more suggestions and ideas from other experienced property owners. Ultimately, you may change or adapt your style as you learn more and grow, or as technology advances. How do you have your tenants pay rent?

Trends Cost Sellers Money

When this happens in real estate — inside or out — a seller's non-trend or off-trend house or condominium unit may become "substandard" in buyers' eyes. Sellers who expect top dollar for their property must ensure it makes an on-trend impression with homebuyers, especially millennials. In interior design, the trend toward ensuite bathrooms combined with the trend to "spa-like" bathrooms has put expensive-renovation pressure on sellers' existing bathrooms. Kitchens and bathrooms are the most expensive rooms to renovate, so it's annoying to sellers that these are the only rooms that add value to a home. If the last renovation was fairly recent, on-trend paint and other cosmetic staging touch-ups may be all that's necessary for great return on this investment. If your home decor pays homage to the 20th Century, discuss 21st-Century renovations options with real estate, construction, and staging professionals. Buyers want new, matching, preferably high-end appliances. Skip these trends and your home may be considered "out dated" even though you have a new furnace and a classic wood-burning fireplace. Staging can add cosmetic cleverness, but there still may be a few renovation projects necessary. Remember, sellers should concentrate on what target buyers want in their "dream home," not on what sellers have been comfortable living with for years.

The Salary Needed To Buy A Home In Major U.S. Cities [Infographic]

A new report from Unison has found that it's becoming more costly than ever to purchase a home with large coastal cities hit the hardest. As well as those soaring prices, student loan debt is also causing a headache for young would-be home buyers with the National Association of Realtors reporting that 41 percent of first-time buyers held such debts in 2017. Unison gauged the extent of the problem by calculating the salary needed to purchase a home in major American cities. Prospective buyers will need the deepest pockets in New York where the average home would cost approximately $418,000, making it the least affordable city in the country. Given the median salary and home prices in the New York metropolitan area, someone would need to save 12 years to purchase their own property there. San Francisco comes second for the least affordable housing in America with a salary of $349,650 required while Boston comes third with someone needing to earn just under $200,000. The report isn't entirely negative and it might come as a relief to learn that there are a few bright spots across the country. Chicago is certainly one of them where the salary required to buy a home comes to $64,948 while Dallas isn't too bad either with $48,887. When it comes to the opposite end of the scale and the question of the most affordable cities for home-buyers, Detroit is hard to beat. A salary of just $8,328 would be enough to buy a house or apartment there.

10 Must-Do Maintenance Tasks to Keep Your Rental Property Issue-Free

If you are managing your rental properties on your own, it may be a good time to do some cleaning. Being proactive with maintenance responsibilities can also prevent calls from your tenants. If you have more than one unit to maintain with similar filter sizes, buy them in bulk to save time and money. Also check to make sure there are no holes in the vent system. Flush the water heater. By cleaning them out, you help eliminate calls about clogged pipes. Clean gutters and remove leaves. Either way, it is important to make sure that the gutters are clear and drain water properly. Walk around the home and check for any damage or potential problems. Check sump pump and make sure it’s still operational.

7 Ways to Spend a $5,000 Renovation Budget for Max ROI

Here are seven ideas to help you spend your $5,000 renovation budget for maximum ROI. Appliance Hookups ($500+) You don’t have to include appliances in your flip or rental property. First, consider painting the cabinets. If your property is a rental, you can always cover ugly kitchen flooring with a giant throw rug, too. Here are a few more cheap DIY kitchen hacks, if you’re looking for a new look on a tight budget. This particular trick works particularly well for urban properties, which may not have a front lawn, or any green for blocks in any direction, for that matter. Paint! Add a Few Pieces of Flare ($300+) In my property management course, I teach my students to find a couple “hooks” to make their property more marketable. When you have a lavish budget and you can completely renovate the kitchen and bathrooms or completely re-shingle or reside the exterior of a property, it’s easy to make your property stand out and not feel so average. What are your tips for doing a renovation on a tight budget?

How to Boost Cap Rates by Buying Great Tenants

I could make a list a mile long, and it still wouldn’t cover everything a person could check or all the mistakes I have made. There is one circumstance where an investor can actually visit a tenant in his or her home: When buy the house they live in! Quality tenants are worth buying. If you are a numbers person, think about it in terms of cap rate. Consider a $100,000 house, financed for 20 years, that rents for $1,200 per month. Here’s how a desirable, high quality tenant could affect your investment: Longevity When a tenant turns over, it costs money. Responsibility It’s harder to quantify what minor maintenance is worth. If a quality tenant puts up his own ceiling fan or fixes a leaky bathroom faucet, savings can easily get to $50/month on average — for another .3 percent on the cap rate. In our example house, this can amount to over 2 percent on the cap rate. Look for hidden value in single-family homes by buying great tenants, and reap the benefits for years to come.

4 Reasons Why Summer Is a Great Time to Buy a Home!

Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting. Prices Will Continue to Rise CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Insights reports that home prices have appreciated by 7% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 5.2% over the next year. An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home. Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage There are some renters who have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity. It’s Time to Move on with Your Life The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings. Members: Sign in now to set up your Personalized Posts & start sharing today!

One Simple Habit the Vast Majority of Wealthy People Practice Every Single Day

“The only thing worse than not reading a book in the last ninety days is not reading a book in the last ninety days and thinking that it doesn’t matter” —Jim Rohn To be successful in real estate investing, you have to take the right actions. A wrong turn could put you back years and cost you a lot of money. You can learn from some one else’s mistakes, or you can make them yourself. In a year you would have read 24 books. If each book distilled just 10 years of the author’s investing experience, you would now have 240 years’ of knowledge. What is the cost of making a real estate mistake? You can read and re-read these books. Most people learn better if they read in the morning. I like to start my mornings reading something educational. Warren Buffett, one of the richest people to ever live, spends about 80% of his work day reading.

How I Sold My First Property Via Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies: Poised to Change Real Estate? One industry that I don’t feel has been largely affected by the changes we see happening in technology is real estate. I also think that blockchain is going to play a big part in the way real estate deals are transacted. You’ve got a lot of iBuyers out there like Open Door, Offerpad, and Knock. We’ve had a lot of young investors who have made money during the crypto boom reaching out to us. But we definitely wanted to make sure we were doing the right thing because there are still no regulations on how you can close on a real estate transaction via cryptocurrency. We asked the title company how we could get the deposit in cryptocurrency—but understand, our title company is not educated on how to close via cryptocurrency. I need to do a little bit of research because if the buyer wanted to buy the property entirely in crypto, how would that work and how would the title company process the transaction? It’s amazing how the world is changing and what is happening. How do you think real estate transactions will change in the coming years?

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How to get equity out of your home

Here are the four most popular ways: Cash-out refinance FHA 203(k) refinance for home improvements Home equity loan Home equity line of credit Any of those could be perfect — or damaging. Equity is simply the amount by which the current market value of your home exceeds your mortgage balance today. How to get equity out of your home: cash-out refinance With a cash-out refinance, you get a whole new first mortgage. How to get equity out of your home: FHA 203(k) refinance This is only going to work if you’re using all the money from your refinance for home improvements. How to get equity out of your home: home equity loan Home equity loans (HELs) are also called second mortgages. Why pay a higher rate on all your borrowing when you can keep your low rate on your first mortgage and pay a higher one just on your new loan? Home equity loan pros Rates are often just a bit higher those of a cash-out refinance LTVs for your combined secured loans are similar to those for a standard refinance: 80 percent for most; 90 percent for the most qualified borrowers Most HELs come with fixed rates and terms so they’re protected against inflation, and are highly predictable for budgeting No wonder HELs are popular. How to get equity out of your home: HELOC A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is the love child of a home equity loan and a credit card. Your lender determines your credit limit (usually somewhere between 80 and 90 percent), and you can borrow up to that. And while you may have started with a 15-year loan and a low interest-only payment, you will now be looking at a 15-year loan with ten years left to repay it, and interest rates that may be going up For instance, if you borrow $20,000 at 4.5 percent with a 15-year HELOC and a five year drawing period, and your balance increased by $4,000 every year and your rate increased every year by 1 percent, here’s your possible payment schedule: Year 1: Balance: $4,000 Rate: 4.5 percent Payment: $15 Year 2: Balance $8,000 Rate 5.5 percent Payment: $37 Year 3: Balance $12,000 Rate: 6.5 percent Payment: $65 Year 4: Balance $16,000 Rate 7.5 percent Payment: $100 Year 5: Balance $20,000 Rate 8.5 percent Payment: $142 YEARS 6 THROUGH 15: PAYMENT (assuming you can fix your rate at 8.5 percent): $248 MONTHLY Of course, some people will get themselves into trouble no matter how they borrow.