Add These 7 Chic Decor Pieces to Your Home for an Instant Style Upgrade

Is your home decor getting you down? We're not even talking about painting your walls or getting all new furniture. “Lighting, art, and life in a room can be a simple addition that alter the energy and style of any space.” We asked Chou and other designers for their top home accessory recommendations for the entryway, bathroom, living room, and beyond. Nature-inspired bath mats Bold bathrooms with bright colors and out-there tiles were big in 2017. Patterned plants Ah, plants. “Plants add a burst of color, warmth, and life into any room,” Chou says. But this year, designers say rose gold is out and copper is in—it's a "living finish" that changes color over time and can work with any design scheme. Instead, achieve elegance with small copper touches like mirrors, picture frames, or doorknobs. If you're not quite ready to commit an entire wall to an abstract design, you can just start with a pair of throw pillows, like the Society6 Black and Gold Geometric Throw Pillow ($21). Statement-red serving bowls Red has reigned supreme on the runway this year, and now the bold color is trending at home, too.

Is Buying a Multifamily Home a Worthwhile Investment? The Real Pros and Cons

You'll own multiple units in a building, which means you can rent them out and generate additional income, some of which can even cover your mortgage payments. What is a multifamily home? Upsides to owning a multifamily home The biggest advantage to buying a multifamily home is the immediate potential for income by renting out the units you’re not living in. “The best reason to buy a multifamily home is to pursue financial freedom,” says Jason Reed, a real estate agent in Minnesota. Other benefits can include tax breaks. Disadvantages of owning a multifamily home If you're planning on paying your mortgage using your tenants' rent money, you have to make sure the units stay rented. “Instead of having just one furnace and one set of major appliances, multifamily homes have several, creating more potential for major problems that need to be addressed.” Some multifamily homes come with tenants already living there. That includes the potential rental income, utility costs of a multifamily home, and taxes you'll pay. “When buying a multifamily property as a first-timer, it's important to know your limits," Reed says. Would you be able to manage your [mortgage] payment with this considered?” Reed typically recommends that buyers start small when purchasing their first multifamily property.

7 home staging mistakes only rookies make

New real estate agents typically enter the field with high energy, eager to sell their first few properties, but that enthusiasm is rarely backed with the experience necessary to expedite or improve the effectiveness of the process. For the most part, home sales are decided by the intrinsic value and appeal of the home, along with the selling price, but you shouldn’t underestimate the impact that home staging (the act of cleaning and altering the home for presentation) can have on the speed and final price of the sale. Unfortunately, many new real estate agents make critical mistakes in the home staging process that limit their chances of selling a home or increase the time it takes to sell it. Biggest staging mistakes to avoid Here are some of the most common mistakes made by new real estate agents: 1. Not starting with a strategy There are some basic “best practices” that will work for just about any home, in any situation. However, that doesn’t mean you should go i...

How federal tax reform will raise homeowners’ state income taxes

Millions will choose the standard deduction over itemizing, but states have not raised their standard deductions There’s an unpleasant surprise awaiting homeowners who plan to use the standard deduction rather than itemize on their federal income tax next year. They could easily find themselves paying more in state income taxes in 2018 than 2017 because of the tax reform act. State and federal income taxes are closely tied. Some 41 states and the District of Columbia start the tax calculations by linking to a form of income in federal tax returns. Thirty states begin with adjusted gross income (AGI) from taxpayers’ federal forms; AGI includes all taxable income before including deductions, exemptions and credits. Eight states use taxable income (the amount after all adjustments). For individuals, the centerpiece of the new federal tax law is the huge increase in the standard deduction from $12,000 for an individual to $24,000 for a married couple. Millions of middle-class homeowners will find that the new standard deduction is greater than their itemized deductions, including the ...

10 of the worst social media mistakes agents can make

We’re all guilty. At one point (for some over and over), we all commit various crimes related to our online presence and social media platforms. They have to stop. Whether you are a chronic online offender or a one-time culprit, here are the 10 social media mistakes you have to stop now -- and their simple fixes. Facebook 1. Not having a link to your business page to your personal page Crime Great, you have a business page, however, no one can find it unless you tell them the name of your page. This is also why your page has very few likes and followers. Remedy Go to the "About" section of your personal Facebook page where is says “Work.” Add to your work history by a adding the name of your Facebook business page. Now your business Facebook page will be listed on your personal page, which will allow those who view your personal page to easily find your business page. Not includi...

How to Make an Offer on a Property Not Listed on the MLS

If you are buying a property that is not listed on the MLS, you will probably not be using a real estate agent. Related: The Easiest Way to Find “Off Market” Deals: Pocket Listings Making an offer to a private seller usually begins with a verbal offer, offered in casual conversation. Then, after some negotiation (which I’ll cover later in this chapter), you’ll come to an agreement on price. At that point, you can pull out your official purchase and sale document and sign in all the necessary places to make it official. It’s not a legal document, just a way for both parties to see the summary of what’s being offered. The Purchase and Sale Agreement A letter of intent simply places those facts on one page, so both parties can decide whether an official purchase and sale agreement is worth drafting. You can also check the BiggerPockets FilePlace at for other useful forms and documents.Office Supply Store: Many office supply stores, especially the big box stores, carry P&S agreements along with many other legal forms. Other Investors: Ask around at your local real estate club to see if anyone has the form you need. Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks, and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly! Actionable Advice for Getting Started, Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches, Learn how to get started with or without money, Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth, And a LOT more Sign up below to download the eBook for FREE today!

How I Underwrite Rental Applications to Mitigate High-Risk Tenants

As co-owner at my organization, I still have the final say on approving rental applicants. A troubled tenant can eat up your cash flow if they’re not paying and you have to evict and replace them. Leasing Agent I have an in-house leasing agent who handles collecting the paperwork and necessary documentation from rental applicants. Once all this is submitted, the agent starts the underwriting process. It is important that you have a clear picture of the prospect’s history to verify they are qualified to pay rent your properly. Our Criteria Criteria for screening tenants can vary depending on what class of property you’re in. For example, with a C class property, you may allow 600 credit score tenants, and with an A class require a minimum score of 700. Additional criteria include having no prior evictions within seven years of the date they’re applying for the home, having at least one year on the job (or proof of prior job stability), and having no felonies within the past five years. Stick to It It is always best to remain objective when underwriting rental applicants. If they do not make enough income or have been at their job only two months, then you simply have to move on.

9 Important Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Embark On A Renovation

If you're getting ready to renovate, or just thinking about a few possibilities, you've got some decisions to make. Keep in mind that wood is classic and relatively easy to take care of. But, it can scratch easily depending on the type of wood and the finish—and especially if you have dogs. Gray or beige The search for the perfect neutral is wrought with challenge. Granite or quartz This one's easy. After many years at the top, granite has been replaced. Gas or electric When it comes to cooking, chefs swear by the performance of gas stoves, but electric does have its advantages - mostly from an easy-cleanup standpoint. Chrome, nickel, brass…or black Choosing your finishes today can be more challenging than ever because there isn't one must-have option. Are you the type to finish what you start or are you likely to give up along the way? But this denies you the pleasure of enjoying those updates while you still live there!

The #1 Thing to Know Before You Invest in Real Estate

Looking at the Estimate and speaking to an agent and having them send you a pro forma doesn’t make you an expert either. Forget the Statistics You can’t focus on stats and demographics of a particular area. Honestly, the stats and demographics are not going to make you money. But I am smart enough to surround myself with people who are smarter than I am, and are doing the things that I can’t do (or don’t want to do). I’ve always gone about my real estate endeavors by surrounding myself with amazing, smart, awesome people who I could trust. Forget about the stats and demographics of a particular area. I make the stats and demographics that they read online every single day. And I’m going to end with this bit of advice: If you buy the best house on the best street in the best area that has the best capital growth projections but your property manager is incompetent or a cheat, you’re going to lose money. Focus on the people first because they are going to make or break your investment. Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks, and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

When it Comes to Your Rental Portfolio, How Much Cash Flow is Enough?

As a landlord, if the rent you charge is significantly higher than your expenses, that difference can not only help you build wealth but can also serve as a potential cash cushion, there to soften the blow when you have too many vacancies or when the unexpected happens and you need reserves. Even so, the conversation is mixed on how much cash flow is necessary to provide that “cushion” and how much is needed to help the investor grow his/her portfolio. The other extreme is that I have a property that cash flows $1,600 a month (never underestimate the power of improving a property for highest and best use). Investing Goals & Tax Implications Investors who are already high income earners may be looking for tax write-offs and losses to offset earned income. Maybe before you invest in your next property you should ask your accountant about how much cash flow you can add without significantly increasing your taxes. My point is that getting more cash flow isn’t the goal for all real estate investors. After all, the more the property is worth, the more cash flow you need. Another strategy is classic arbitrage: tapping into your equity in the property and investing that money somewhere else, making a higher return than your interest rate. Certainly, cash flow helped build and sustain my real estate portfolio. Besides increasing cash flow, what other strategies are you using to build and preserve wealth?


Real Estate ICOs Are Moving In, But Investors Aren’t Floored

In fact, there are at least four ICO issuers right now with a real-estate component – BitRent, a way to speed up financing construction projects; Etherty, real-estate management through equity access; Caviar, a fund that tempers the volatility of crypto investments with loans to real estate projects; and Trust, a way to tokenize equity in real estate and other real-world assets. Nussbaum said: "If done responsibly and legally, I do think these types of projects can advance the industry by offering previously inaccessible liquidity and investment opportunity to individuals." And Nussbaum isn't alone in his thinking. Yet, even with new momentum for this particular token use case and increasing interest by consumers and businesses in cryptocurrency, there are still hurdles to tokenizing real estate on a blockchain. Liquid land The concept of selling shares of a property is nothing new – real estate investment trusts (REITs), modelled after mutual funds, own and manage properties, allowing investors to buy in for small amounts. And not only that, but tokenizing home equity could also make the space, which has been attractive to investors but difficult to trade, more liquid. Scott Hoch, an analyst at Apex Token Fund explained, "A new level of liquidity is created when tokenizing traditional assets. "There has to be a lot shaken out in the blockchain world," he told CoinDesk. Tokens at the town hall Yet, there are signs that the right people are taking an interest in crypto tokens for real estate. Not only is Cook County interested in updating the law to accommodate crypto, but a handful of locations – a city in Vermont being the most recent – around the world have launched pilots to determine whether putting land titles on a blockchain would offer efficiencies and other benefits.

A Huge MileStone