Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

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We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

March 16, 2021

5 Home Improvement Projects That Won’t Pay Off When You Sell

Photograph of a kitchen being remodeled to illustrate, "5 Home Improvement Projects That Won’t Pay Off When You Sell"Home improvements are occasionally unavoidable. For instance, you have to replace your refrigerator when it dies, or your leaking roof has to be repaired to mitigate more damage to your home.  But many home improvements are simply done to please the homeowners and increase their enjoyment of homeownership, and there’s nothing wrong with that! Putting on fresh paint, installing new flooring, or updating light fixtures will do a lot to make a house feel like a home.

Home improvements can also have an impact on the home’s market value and curb appeal. If you're thinking about selling your property in the relatively near future you need to be certain that you only tackle home improvements that will increase property value or salability (curb appeal). Most home improvements will accomplish one of those criteria, however, there are a number of home improvements that will do the opposite and devalue your property. So before you start making home improvements all willy nilly, step away from that sledgehammer and wrecking bar for a moment and think about these 5 home improvement projects that won’t pay off when you sell your house.

5 home improvement projects that won’t pay off

1 - Doing away with rooms

Creating the perfect master bedroom by removing a wall to add the small adjoining bedroom may look like a great idea.  But when it’s time to sell one less bedroom can be an issue. When your three-bedroom house becomes a two-bedroom house you have lost all the potential buyers that are looking for three or more bedrooms.

You want to be very cautious about any home improvement that changes the building’s floor plan such as expanding the living room by repurposing the small attached bathroom. Opening or closing up the kitchen by remodeling the pantry makes sense to you but homebuyers could have different preferences. When you change your home’s floor plan to satisfy you, you can’t expect to get a high return when it’s time to sell since not all buyers will have the same ideals as you.

But obviously, improve your home in any way you want so that it works for your family and your situation.  Just be aware that removing rooms and changing the floor plan will almost always bring down your property’s value.

2 - Bathrooms

Of course, a luxurious walk-in shower would seem like a great selling point.  But what if the buyers need a bathtub to accommodate small children, or they have accessibility needs?  Having a walk-in shower or a wonderful claw foot bathtub isn’t going to work for them. Features like these can be just as much of a selling point as they are an objection.  So don’t swap your bathtub for a shower and expect it to increase your home’s value.

3 - Hobby rooms

Making an extra room into a hobby room or office makes sense.  But if your hobby needs a specialized space you can expect it to adversely affect the property value.  Most people aren’t going to appreciate a basement dance studio with a wall covered by mirrors and rails. 

So if your hobby requires a highly customized room, make it so, and enjoy it.  But when you’re ready to sell your home you will want to revert back to the way it was in order to make your home appealing to the widest audience.

4 - Avoid luxury finishes

You may think expensive slabs of marble in the bathroom is worth thousands of dollars, but that doesn’t mean your potential buyers will.  They’re sure to appreciate the luxury finish.  However, if the bathroom is the only thing increasing the cost of your home compared to other similar homes, it’s unlikely to be the chosen property. There is a fine line between a reasonable upgrade and going too far.  Bring us to….

5 - Avoid improving your home out of the market

No matter how wonderfully improved your home is, it’s still in the same location. There is such a thing as a point of diminishing returns when we’re talking about home improvements.  Avoid making so many home improvements that you grossly overvalue your property compared to the rest of your neighborhood. 

So remember, not everyone has your tastes.  When it’s time to sell your property don’t get upset when your Realtor® suggests strongly that you repaint your home’s interior with neutral colors.  It’s nothing personal, the idea is to appeal to the broadest segment of homebuyers as you can.  Homebuyers like to visualize what a property will look like when decorated in their style and the more neutral the presentation the easier it is for your potential buyers to do that.

While you're living in your home, go ahead and make it yours with all the home improvements you want.  But trust your Realtor® when they say those customizations should go before you put your place up for sale.

Are you ready to sell?

Do you want to know if your home improvements are going to pay off? Our agents know the Orlando area market and will work relentlessly to sell your home for the most money possible in the shortest time, call us today!

Are you ready to begin the search for your next investment property? Call us at EP Realtors® and ask to speak with one of our Realtors® who specializes in investment properties, (407) 704-8030.

Here are some recent articles you may have missed:

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March 11, 2021

5 Ways To Invest In Affordable Housing

Photograph of townhomes used to illustrate, "5 Ways To Invest In Affordable Housing".I’m sure you’ve heard that now’s the time to invest along with a list of reasons to act now.  But what does it matter if you don't have the money to plop down on a house for yourself? 

In addition to that, many of the properties that are currently listed today are quite pricey since we are technically in a seller's market here in Orlando.  You could get a screaming deal and still watch your property devalue as the market changes over time.

Besides, who wants to pay the full market price if they don’t have to?

There are a number of ways to purchase a property today.  Here is a round-up of 5 ways to invest in affordable housing.

Related article: 4 Best Reasons To Invest Long-Term In Affordable Housing

1 - Foreclosures

Foreclosures are the most obvious starting point since these properties aren’t necessarily junkers (though junkers do exist in this market).  There are many houses in good neighborhoods falling into foreclosure that have all the amenities you would want. Nevertheless, buyers should beware since a homeowner who couldn’t keep up on their mortgage probably isn’t able to keep up with major repairs. So in this case a thorough home inspection is required, especially because most foreclosures are sold “as is” meaning the owner won’t make any repairs.

Something else to keep in mind is that the low prices you see in the listing for foreclosures are often misleading because these low-priced properties often generate a bidding war, often resulting in sales prices closer to the market value.

Related article: 5 Pros & 3 Cons Of Investing in Foreclosure & Pre-Foreclosure Properties

2 - Short sales

Finding short sales is another way to invest in affordable housing. With a short sale, the homeowner is still in control of their property and they have negotiated with the bank to allow them to sell the property for less than the outstanding mortgage value. A lender will do this to avoid the costs and inconvenience of working through the foreclosure process.  The greatest downside to the buyer is it can take a long time for the lender to accept and approve your offer.

related: short sales

Related article: 5 Good Reasons For Investing In Short Sales

3 - Choose a profitable location

Search out and invest in a transitional neighborhood.  These are typically a city environment, not the suburbs, so you’ll have to be ok investing in a city.  A lot of a great deal can be found in areas the city government is interested in fixing up.  There are even better deals in areas that people are moving into and fixing up on their own accord.  This kind of investing requires that you have a little sense of adventure though.  You may have to deal with a higher crime rate and occasionally a less than desirable individual or two.  It’s likely you won’t be in one of the better school districts either.

You can always head out in the other direction, away from the city’s center and into the more rural outskirts, beyond the suburbs.  Home prices are usually lower in more rural settings. These homes are also set in a quieter and less crowded area.  For some people, those are the drawbacks since the nearest shopping center will be a fair distance away.

4- “As is” property

“As is” property can be located just about anywhere.  And they run the gambit of sellers (private and not listed, MLS listed, bank owned, institutional seller, etc.). When you buy this kind of property you are agreeing to take warts and all.  The seller will not make repairs and they won’t be willing to negotiate too much.  However, there are a few diamonds in the rough to be found like this.

5 - Local grants

Depending on where you live, there may be neighborhood improvement or local government organizations that offer various incentives including money to bring people into and improve what is termed a “blighted area”. This may revolve around restoring historic homes or neighborhoods, transitional neighborhoods, or focused on some other urban redevelopment.

The Good Neighbor Next Door Program administered by HUD.  This program allows eligible families to purchase a home for up to 50%  off market value.  You will be required to be an owner-occupant for some period of time which makes this unavailable for flippers. After the required occupancy period, you can do the property as you wish.

All of these deals can be found on your own but it would be much easier on you if you hire a Realtor® to help you. Consider hiring a buyer’s agent.  Buyer agents work strictly for you, not the property owners, bankers, or even themselves.  Your Realtor® will be compensated only when they find you a property to buy and then their commission is covered by the seller.

However, if you choose to do it on your own foreclosures, short sales, and the rest can be found through your local HUD office, IRS auctions,, or Fannie Mae. The major banks and management companies may list the properties they own on their websites. Foreclosures and auctions will be posted in the local newspaper classified ads.  You can always just go pound the pavement looking for distressed properties.

Are you ready to begin the search for your next investment property? Call us at EP Realtors® and ask to speak with one of our Realtors® who specializes in investment properties, (407) 704-8030.

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Posted in Investing
March 9, 2021

3 Things You Can Do To Save Selling Your Property

Photograph of a stack of money to illustrate, "3 Things You Can Do To Save Selling Your Property".

We all like to save as much money as we can in every transaction we do.  We also know that real estate transactions can be quite expensive with or without hiring a Realtor®.  Interestingly, the data shows that homeowners who work with a Realtor® effectively save money due to their property selling for a greater price than what a for-sale-by-owner gets. What follows are 3 things you can do to save money selling your property.

1 - Use a Realtor®

I know this sounds counterintuitive because you’re going to pay a commission when your property sells, and even biased since it’s on a real estate broker’s blog. But the data has consistently shown that hiring a Realtor® will save the home seller thousands compared to them selling it by themselves.  

How is this?  Because most sellers either overprice their house and end up having to drop their price drastically over such a long period of time that they eventually sell their property for much less than they first thought they could. On the other hand, the homeowner will underprice their property and sell it quickly, but well under market value. Either way, this usually costs them as much as the commission would have been if they hired a Realtor®.

Look at it like this; if you believe your property is worth $350k and you want to sell it yourself you would offer it for $350k, right? Now, if your price is higher than a price derived from a properly done market analysis, you will have to lower your price little-by-little until it’s sold.  Most often, the home seller will drop the price further than thought they ever would just to sell their property.  They may eventually sell their place for less than $300k. Even if the property’s true market value was $350k and a Realtor® erroneously listed it at $330k, you would still net around $2k more than doing it yourself. And bonus, the Realtor® is doing all the work and paying for advertising out of their own pocket, and pre-qualifying buyers which minimize the number of strangers walking through your home, and so much more!

Related article: Should You Sell Your Home Yourself Or Hire A Realtor®?

2 - Be competitive with model homes and open houses

It’s not necessary to spend thousands for a professional stager when you can just view some model homes that have already done that. Take some pictures, write some notes, and you’ll have an idea of what will work for your house. If you’re not sure it will work well for your particular home, you can arrange for a consultation with a professional home stager for some tips and ideas for staging with your current furniture and floor plan, versus paying for a complete staging service. You could save you hundreds compared to professional staging this way.

Related article: Objectivity Is Required For Effective Home Staging

3 - Negotiating price and terms

Far too often homeowners agree too quickly during the negotiation of price and terms.  You really want to get the most out of the negotiating process in a way that benefits the seller and the buyer. For example, your property has been listed for $350k and you have an offer on the table for $330k. If the property hasn’t been on the market for too long you have a good chance of a successful counter-offer.  So you counter with $340k. If they accept, great.  But maybe they return $335k?  You could then offer $338k and possibly offer an incentive like a home warranty.  The point is, don’t overlook negotiating for as long as it’s kept fair and unemotional.  When insults and getting catty enter the negotiations that neither party gets what they want. Talk with your Realtor® about negotiating any offers to maximize your profit without alienating your potential buyer.

Call us at EP Realtors® and ask to speak with one of our experienced Realtors® about any of your real estate needs, (407) 704-8030.

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Posted in Home Selling
March 4, 2021

Some Real Estate Tax Ramifications

Photograph of income tax related paperwork on a desk to illustrate, "Some Real Estate Tax Ramifications".Taxation of real estate is complicated, even for the people who like to work with numbers. So the first thing to do is to add a real estate tax professional to your team that you can work with. They can help your tax position and help you with your tax planning to minimize what you will owe. What follows is a shortlist of tax matters related to real estate.

Related article: Building Your Real Estate Investment Team

Capital gains tax

After you sell a property you will be obligated to pay tax on your profits. There are two kinds of capital gains tax - short-term and long-term.  We’ll touch on them separately. 

Long-term capital gains

Long-term capital gains tax is applied to the profits from real estate that you owned for one year or more.  This tax uses your taxable income to derive the amount of tax you owe for your real estate transaction and your other taxable income.

For example, you purchase an investment property for $120,000.  Several years later you sell that property for $180,000.  You just earned a gross profit of $60,000, congratulations!  Your Realtor’s® commission is deductible.  Subtracting a 6% commission brings your profit down to $49,200.

The amount of tax you will owe on that $49,200 will depend on many things (filing status, your other taxable income, etc.). Most people will owe 15% for the transaction plus the tax due on your other taxable income.  But people in higher tax brackets will owe 20% on the transaction’s profit. Some lower-income earners may not owe anything.

Short-term capital gains

Calculating short-term capital gains tax is much simpler than long-term capital gains. If you own the property for less than a year the profits as part of your regular income.  You're taxed owed will be based on the tax table by adding the real estate profit to your other income (i.e., your salary).

For example, a person whose annual wages are $45,000 made $15,000 profit on a piece of property they fixed and flipped in less than a year.  The IRS sees the real estate’s profit as regular taxable income.  So the regular wages and the property’s profit would be added together equalling $60,000 and the tax due would be figured using the tax tables.

Postponing capital gains tax

Let’s say the investor plans to sell their property and reinvest the profits into another investment property.  Having to pay capital gains tax would reduce their ability to invest.  But there’s good news!  There’s a tax deferral known as a 1031 exchange that will let the investor reinvest all of the sale’s profits into a property of “like-kind”.  

A 1031 Exchange will allow the investor to defer paying capital gains tax if they reinvest the profits into another property of the same kind (single-family home for a single-family home, or duplex for a duplex, etc).  But the investor has a limited time to invest in their next property.

Related article: All About The IRS 1031 Exchange

Rental income taxation

All of the rental revenue has to be included as income for taxes.  However, an investor who owns an income-producing property is allowed to deduct some of their expenses from the rent received.  The costs of improvements are handled differently.

For example, an investor receives $12,000 for the year but incurred $2,000 in property repairs and maintenance.  They will be able to deduct those expenses from the income making their taxable income $10,000.

It’s important to work with a tax professional.  It will save you time and keep you on the right side of the IRS.

Are you ready to begin the search for your next investment property? Call us at EP Realtors® and ask to speak with one of our Realtors® who specializes in investment properties, (407) 704-8030.

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Posted in Investing
March 2, 2021

3 Odd Things To Overlook While Home Buying

                                 Photo by Dunk
Photo of an elephant in a room to illustrate, "3 Odd Things To Overlook While Home Buying".You’ll see ugly paint, exercise gear in strange locations, an overabundance of family pictures - everywhere.  Don’t let it bother you.

Unfortunately, it’s not a requirement for home sellers to set their houses up for the best possible showing, nevermind cleaning them before they list.  Don’t despair, seller laziness can translate into a large upside for a buyer with the right mindset.

Here are 3 odd things to overlook while home buying that might turn you away but shouldn’t actually prevent you from submitting an offer, especially if you like the house’s layout and its location.

Dirty carpets and old wallpaper

Buyers nowadays typically are looking for properties that are ready to be moved into.  Our daily lives are just too busy to fit in a renovation project, this is particularly true among millennials who are constantly connected.

But replacing carpet and painting isn’t especially time-consuming or costly and these projects can be completed before moving into your new place.

When a seller refuses to paint or replace bad carpeting they’re just shooting themselves in the foot.

Fresh paint and new flooring shouldn’t take more than a week to do and it’s not a budget killer either.  When you’ve finished, your place will look as good as new and ready for you to move in.

Related article: Purchasing A Diamond In The Rough

Rooms with an odd purpose

It’s not unlike that you’ll see a dining room pressed into service as an office, especially now with Covid-19 forcing many people to work from home. You might even find someone who is using a small bedroom as a walk-in closet, or a spare room converted for wine-tasting and entertaining.

You are not obligated to use these rooms the same way the current owner does.  Even if these are odd rooms to you, remember that the seller lives here, for now. After you move in all the dining room will need is a nice ceiling light and table, and the walk-in-closet-bedroom can easily be put back in service as a bedroom in a day (or into whatever odd use you have in mind for it - billiards??).

Overwhelming sellers presence

When a property is full of the seller’s photos, diplomas, and memorabilia, it’s difficult to imagine yourself living in the home.  The perfect home to show buyers is one that lacks personal items and is neutral in every way.

It’s even more difficult when the seller stays in the house during a showing.  Everyone feels a little uncomfortable.  Buyers feel a need to be on their best behavior and can’t really get into the show when what they really want to do is open every cabinet and cubbyhole.  Not to mention the buyers won’t speak freely when the homeowner is within earshot.

Homes like these, where the owner remains during showings and the property is overly personalized, often stay on the market for a long time and gain a bad reputation.  A savvy buyer will use this to their advantage while negotiating a lower price.

Whether a home seller is sabotaging the sale of their home intentionally or not, they are failing to maximize their profit, helping the buyer get a very good price for the property.  Unfortunately, most of today’s home buyers find it hard to see through the oddities, mess, and clutter of the home seller.

So when you see a property that is in a great location with a floor plan that works for you, ignore everything that can be changed and focus on how to make the home yours.

Call us at EP Realtors® and ask to speak with one of our experienced Realtors® about any of your real estate needs, (407) 704-8030.

Here are some related articles you may have missed: 

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Posted in Home Buying
Feb. 25, 2021

10 Steps For Successful Urban Redevelopment Projects

Photograph of home construction team working on a urban redevelopment project to illustrate, ", "You found a project with outstanding architecture and you have finished months of reviews and modifications.  You and your team are certain your project will gain substantial attention.  But after several rounds with the zoning and planning office, they decided to increase the required setback and present so many additional hoops that you’re considering just walking away from the project entirely.

Sound familiar?

Special care is required in the development of both residential and commercial property in urban areas. Although there are some urban areas that are on the cusp of new developments, community resistance and lack of understanding can stop even the best concepts from moving forward.

Such risk can be minimized by being mindful of the process.  Residents, politicians, and HOA boards insist that these projects be transparent, based on trust, and involve having consensus. That doesn't mean you have to compromise the design of your project. Paying attention to these 10 steps for successful urban redevelopment projects can culminate in a smooth process and a strong design.

Consensus doesn't mean getting everyone to agree, perse, it’s more about identifying shared goals, building relationships, and being respectful of differing opinions.  Consensus creates a positive public opinion for your project resulting in the acceptance of both the local residents and government.

10 steps for successful urban redevelopment projects

  1. Create the vision. It’s about the design, not density. Establish a vision early by connecting it to local settings and looking for ways to build partnerships. Good designs attract people.
  2. Know your market. Do the homework necessary to understand the competition and the market forces that influence a project.
  3. Understand the issues. All communities have a set of unique characteristics and issues that guide their decisions. It’s essential to have a good understanding of the marketplace, environment, regional influences, and financial aspects. There is no single solution.
  4. Get the public benefit. Make the benefit for the city and its community clear.
  5. Pay attention to everyone who has a stake in the project. Have small discussion groups to get their feedback.
  6. Establish trust. Do this by sharing knowledge and listening carefully. Be honest, encourage participation from everyone, stay neutral, and pursue win-win goals.
  7. Inform decision-makers. Meet one-on-one and provide solutions to educate decision-makers.
  8. Use the media. Take the high road and keep the message simple. Talk about helping the community.
  9. Use what's unique. Incorporate the area’s physical social and historical environment into the design.
  10. Be patient. Listen carefully, provide guidance, establish credibility, and let the process grow.

By following these 10 steps for successful urban redevelopment projects you will be able to get your revitalization plan approved smoothly.

Carrying out urban redevelopment projects, both residential and commercial, will improve the community’s spaces while creating areas that are lively gathering places for community activities, work, and living.

Are you ready to begin the search for your next investment property? Call us at EP Realtors® and ask to speak with one of our Realtors® who specializes in investment properties, (407) 704-8030.

Here are some recent articles you may have missed:

Realtor logo and MLS logo.

Posted in Investing
Feb. 23, 2021

6 Downsizing Tips For Retirees

For most of us, our golden years marks a shift in our personal finances.  We typically move from wealth building and saving to living off what we’ve accumulated and social security.  For most retirees, their home is their largest single investment.  So it makes sense that considering their living situation and how that fits in their overall investment strategy would be significant.

A photograph of a direction sign with the word 'retirement' used to illustrate, "6 Downsizing Tips For Retirees".

Start planning now if downsizing is part of your retirement plan.  Currently, this is especially important since Covid-19 protocols slow down virtually every real estate transaction.  Below are 6 downsizing tips for retirees to help maximize their financial benefit.

EP Realtors® is a full-service real estate brokerage.  The information provided here is for educational purposes only.  We recommend you consult with the appropriate professionals (attorney, tax advisor, financial planner, and others) for guidance concerning your particular circumstances and financial goals.

6 Downsizing Tips For Retirees

1 - Decide if you would rather sell or rent out your current home

For some retirees having a large lump of cash from the sale of their home is a good idea.  But selling may have some large costs associated with it, like capital gains tax, commissions, and legal fees.  You could be losing as much as 25% of your sales price. 

Selling also precludes the wealth-building and passive income that turning your house into an investment property can provide. Keeping your house as a rental property would let you have an additional retirement income and you could benefit from your property’s appreciation in the long run, leaving your family a valuable asset.

If you need some or your home’s equity you might be able to refinance the property with a cash-out loan or take a second mortgage, then rent the property out for a passive income.  If you structure this right, the rental income will cover your monthly mortgage payment, depending on its terms of course.  It may even be possible that you have a positive cash flow as well.

Build a professional team for downsizing

After you’ve decided to sell or rent your property, you’ll want to build your team to help you attain your goal.

If you choose to sell, take your time to find a Realtor® that you like and trust who knows his business.

On the other hand, if you choose to make your house an income property you will likely want to find a property management company to deal with the day-to-day business of your rental property. Or you may want to be an active landlord and manage the daily operations yourself.

Related article: Building Your Real Estate Investment Team

Hire a home inspector sooner than later

A qualified home inspector will provide you with a report of all of the potential problems they find with your property that can come up when you do sell it or convert it to an income property. The inspector’s report is also useful if you’re considering renovations that can increase the property’s value.

Get the inspection done well before you plan to move so you’ll have plenty of time to make repairs or renovate, 4-6 months ahead of your move is recommended.

Related article: What is a home inspection?

Choose the best time of the year to sell or rent

Whether you plan to sell or rent it out, timing is one of the easiest ways to get maximum value for your property.

For example, in many parts of the country selling in the spring will net the most profits.  But the early fall, or late summer, is the best season to find renters. The best season for selling or renting varies across the county, work with your Realtor® to figure out the best time to execute your plan.

Beware of iBuyers

These are companies that offer to buy your place with an all-cash offer.  The process is very quick and nearly hassle-free.  However, you will pay for the convenience.  It’s almost like selling at wholesale, an iBuyer will want a deep discount of 15-20% to buy your home this way. If the market value of your home is $300,000 you’ll be offered between $240,000 and $255,000 - leaving up to $60,0000 on the table.

Don’t accept a low-ball offer

If you know your home is priced properly for your market but you're not getting the offers you’re expecting, don’t automatically accept a low-ball offer. Reconsider whether or not you might be better off renting your property out until the market conditions are more favorable for you.

Are you ready to begin the search for your next investment property? Call us at EP Realtors® and ask to speak with one of our Realtors® who specializes in investment properties, (407) 704-8030.

Here are some recent articles you may have missed:

Realtor logo and MLS logo.

Feb. 18, 2021

Location, Location, Coffee?

Photograph of a group of people in a coffeehouse, or coffee shop, used to illustrate, "Location, Location, Coffee?".Most investors think location, location, location.  They think about the schools, crime rates, access to amenities, and so forth. They don’t really think about coffee though, do they?  But maybe they should. By studying a coffee shop you’ll see there’s more going on there than customers ordering drinks with ridiculously long names.

A coffeehouse, and especially the independently owned shops, add their own charm to a neighborhood.  It’s almost like going into a micro-neighborhood.  The regulars recognize one another because that’s where they met, versus across the fence dividing their properties, not that becoming friends over a fence is bad - it’s not.  But a coffeehouse may encourage its neighbors to walk more, whether that’s to place their own order, or just to see who’s hanging out.

When you’re looking through your investor’s goggles, a coffee shop’s ambiance can be a positive thing when you’re considering purchasing a nearby property. Whoever the next owner or renter of that property is may not be so concerned about schools and parks, buy likes a place close by to have their favorite coffee beverage served to them in a comfortable place with a friendly social atmosphere. A lot of people are looking to live in areas that have amenities within walking distance. A shop where they can relax with a delicious handcrafted cup of coffee will likely rank as one, especially with the increasing number of childfree professionals and empty nesters.

There is a track record of property values increasing after a major coffeehouse chain moves into a neighborhood. It could be worthwhile to talk to the neighborhood association of the area you’re interested in investing in to find out if a coffeehouse is going to be opening up soon allowing you to buy before the prices go up.

Buying an investment property based on schools, parks, and shopping is smart, but dig a little and learn what real estate developments are on the horizon that will make the neighborhood more attractive. When a person is looking for an area with a small-town ambiance, a nearby coffeehouse might be the thing that influences their decision to buy or rent there.

Are you ready to begin the search for your next investment property? Call us at EP Realtors® and ask to speak with one of our Realtors® who specializes in investment properties, (407) 704-8030.

Here are some recent articles you may have missed:

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Posted in Investing
Feb. 16, 2021

5 Ways To Be A Responsible Homeowner

Conceptual image of a 5 lined checklist used to illustrate, "5 Ways To Be A Responsible Homeowner".Becoming a homeowner is a huge accomplishment that benefits your family as well as the surrounding community. People who have moved from being renters to homeowners are more likely to keep up their home's appearance,  involve themselves in the community, and are even more likely to vote. But owning a home is also a large commitment and you have to be willing to keep your end of that social contract.

You may think that closing on your new house is the end of the homeownership process. But the reality is, you’re only just now beginning the homeownership journey.

What follows is a rundown of the most important 5 ways to be a responsible homeowner:

5 ways to be a responsible homeowner

1 - Understand the major systems of your home

You don’t have to understand your home’s systems like a professional electrician, HVAC tech, or plumber, but you should have a basic understanding of the systems and their functionality. During the buying process, you will have a home inspector perform a home inspection where they will test and check all of your home’s systems. If you can, arrange to shadow the inspector during the inspection and will learn a lot about your home.

2 - Budget wisely

Buying your new home can be a pretty exciting time, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. You might be thinking about fully updating your kitchen and bathrooms, converting the family room into a home theater, building a deck across the entire back of the house, and going off-grid with solar panels.  It’s important to resist the urge to go all in and do everything at once.

Owning a home is very different from renting, and you just spent a lot of hard-earned cash to get into your new home. The chances are your savings have been tapped out and you might even be spending more per month with the added expenses of homeownership.

That doesn’t mean you can’t dream big. One day you could gut and completely remodel that kitchen, and do all the other things as well. Just give yourselves some time to get used to your new life.

3 - Build up a basic tool kit

You don’t need a full-blown workshop, but you will need some basic tools to take care of the minor repairs that come up.  Basic tools would be something like this:  

  • Work gloves
  • Pliers, channel locks, vice grips, monkey wrench
  • Set of screw drives (#1 and #2 flat head and phillips head, short and long-shanked)
  • Hammer
  • Measuring tape
  • Flashlight
  • And more as you need them (i.e. PVC pipe cutting tool if/when you have a PVC pipe job to do)
  • Another great addition to your tool kit is the best selling book, “Ultimate Guide to Home Repair and Improvement

Related article: 5 Tools Every Homeowner Needs

4 - Don’t postpone repairs

As a homeowner, maintenance responsibilities are yours. You no longer have a landlord to call for a leaking faucet or broken toilet. Many projects and tasks can be done by homeowners like clearing clogged pipes, lawn care, replacing air filters, and clearing gutters. Use contractors for the heavy lifting and technical things like repairing or replacing your HVAC, electrical work, roofing, or structural repairs. 

If you're working on saving money then you can postpone unnecessary projects like remodeling or update fixtures.  But don’t put off any maintenance that compromises your personal safety or the safety of your house such as a leaky pipe that will lead to water damage and possibly a mold problem down the road. Maintaining your home will also keep expensive repairs to a minimum and will help you hold your home’s value or even increase it.

5 - Good record keeping

Photograph of SentrySafe 1170 Fireproof Box with Key Lockt o illustrate, "5 Ways To Be A Responsible Homeowner".Homeownership involves quite a bit of paperwork and you can’t know when you will have to file an insurance warranty claim. You're going to want to know where your documents are when you need them. So, create a filing system to organize your receipts, warranty papers, legal documents, your closing documents, photographs for insurance purposes, etc. It would be ideal if you kept all of this protected in a fireproof documents box

6 - Build up an emergency fund

Having some savings set aside as an emergency fund is the best defense for covering the costs of unexpected major repairs. Imagine if your roof began leaking or your air conditioning unit completely died in the middle of August.  How nice would it be if you would be able to pay for this and put off the repair while you scrimped and saved to cover the costs?  Also remember, insurance seldom covers all the expense from a casualty loss either. Just having some money put aside is better than none at all.

Call us at EP Realtors® and ask to speak with one of our experienced Realtors® about any of your real estate needs, (407) 704-8030.

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Posted in Homeowners
Feb. 11, 2021

Using Rehab, Refinancing, And Cash-Out For Long-Term Wealth Building

Image of a man giving a thumbs up in front of a before and after image of a renovated house to illustrate, "Using Rehab, Refinancing, And Cash-Out For Long-Term Wealth Building".This article will provide an overview of a somewhat advanced strategy for an investor to use after they have a few deals under their belt. The Rehab, Refinance, and cash out strategy can lead to real long-term wealth and financial independence.  This strategy will work well in a buyers market such as what we’re currently experiencing in Orlando. An investor would use this to enhance their wholesaling properties for immediate income and selling at retail for greater short-term profits. This is a long-term wealth-building strategy and as long as you stick to a long-term buy and hold strategy this can lead to the accumulation of true wealth and financial independence.

This is done by locating low to mid-grade three-bedroom homes that need a little work which can be bought from out of area owners, or any motivated seller.  The goal is to find properties that are 50-60% of their repaired value, financing the purchase using hard money.  Hard money lenders will typically lend up to 65% of the repaired value to buy the property and rehabilitate it.

Related article: What Are Hard Money Loans?

After the property is repaired the investor does a cash-out refi for 80-90% of the current market value after the repairs. Ideally, an investor will find properties that will return at least ten thousand dollars that can be used as needed in their business. But this money isn’t for living on, it’s used solely to grow their real estate business. After this cycle has been completed with ten properties the investor ought to be able to continue finding better and better opportunities since they will be able to close quickly with cash out of pocket. Better deals can be found with more cash available to work with.

After repeating this process twenty times or so, an investor ought to have around $200k in cash and another $200k in equity with a portfolio of twenty houses providing no less than $2/mo in positive cash flow.  This is more or less a passive income since the investor will have hired a property management company to handle the day-to-day operations of being a landlord.

Related article: Building Your Real Estate Investment Team

With regular rent increases, the revenue should go up to $4k/mo for $2k/mo and in thirty years their portfolio should have $2-3 million in mortgage-free houses. 

The rental income minus management fees, maintenance, debt maintenance, and all other costs have to leave the investor with a positive cash flow for this strategy to work. If it’s not possible to cash out of a property then it’s not recommended to hold it long-term since you’ll want to get a cash-out mortgage. 

Take the time to find a few mortgage companies or mortgage brokers that are investor-friendly to work with. You’re going to be looking for companies that are going to be able to help you finance a hundred houses, not just 10-20 like we’ve talked about above. It’s recommended that you have a relationship with more than one good lender.  However, stay with lenders that specialize in working with investors. One way to find these companies is to ask other investors who the investor-friendly lenders are.

Taking on the responsibilities of being a landlord isn’t recommended because of the amount of time and energy that is required. It’s typically far more efficient to hire a property management company that charges around 10% of your rental income to oversee your properties. 

This is somewhat of an advanced strategy since you probably won’t see any profits for four to six months after starting your first deal and that feels like a long time. But if you are consistently making money through wholesaling that time lag shouldn’t be too big of a deal. Investing this way is the natural progression from wholesaling since you’re already helping other investors find these types of deals. Now you can take the cash out or a couple of your wholesale deals, only slower, and build some wealth as well.

Are you ready to begin the search for your next investment property? Call us at EP Realtors® and ask to speak with one of our Realtors® who specializes in investment properties, (407) 704-8030.

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Realtor logo and MLS logo.