Real Estate

‘Zombie’ Foreclosures Are Haunting These ZIP Codes

NAR Daily News Magazine - August 30, 2020 - 11:00pm

Despite government safeguards during the pandemic, the number of abandoned properties lingering in the foreclosure process has grown.

Categories: Real Estate

Retail Landlords Using Pandemic Clauses for Protection

NAR Daily News Magazine - August 30, 2020 - 11:00pm

The goal is to structure leases in a way that helps tenants survive the impact to their business in the event of another economic shutdown.

Categories: Real Estate

7 Most Affordable Lake Towns in 2020

NAR Daily News Magazine - August 30, 2020 - 11:00pm

Buyers looking for a budget-friendly peaceful retreat may want to focus on these areas with potential deals.

Categories: Real Estate

Millennials Are Fueling Housing’s Rebound

NAR Daily News Magazine - August 30, 2020 - 11:00pm

First-time buyers in their 20s and 30s are flocking to the market in higher numbers due to low mortgage rates and changing needs during the pandemic.

Categories: Real Estate

2 Charged in Attempted Abduction of Agent

NAR Daily News Magazine - August 30, 2020 - 11:00pm

Police say two men tried to force a 54-year-old female real estate pro into their car at a home showing in Ohio.

Categories: Real Estate

Study: Gender, Racial Diversity Lacking in Real Estate Investing

NAR Daily News Magazine - August 27, 2020 - 11:00pm

However, real estate investors appear conflicted on whether anything needs to be done to address the issue.

Categories: Real Estate

Mortgage Rates Fall Again, Average 2.91%

NAR Daily News Magazine - August 27, 2020 - 11:00pm

A new Fed policy could help keep interest rates low for a longer period, NAR says.

Categories: Real Estate

Laura Won't Be 2020's Last Devastating Hurricane, Forecasters Warn

NAR Daily News Magazine - August 27, 2020 - 11:00pm

Homeowners need to be ready and insured for what’s predicted to be a lively hurricane season.

Categories: Real Estate

Mix of Housing Supply, Buyer Demand Enters Uncharted Territory

NAR Daily News Magazine - August 27, 2020 - 11:00pm

National housing inventory has plunged 37% year over year, while buyers’ heightened demand is spurring bidding wars and a rapid sales pace.

Categories: Real Estate

Renting a Room in Your House: What to Know

RisMedia Consumer News - August 27, 2020 - 2:01pm

If you have a spare room in your home, renting it out can be a way to earn extra to pay the mortgage. There can be problems with this sort of arrangement, however, that could make you wish you hadn’t invited a renter into your home, so it’s important to be educated about the process as much as possible.

Renting out part of your home does put you in the position of a landlord with the associated responsibilities. You have to understand what your legal situation is and how to deal with issues that arise in dealing with your tenant.

Let’s take a look at the most vital things you have to know when renting a room in your home.

Knowing the Rental Laws Are Vital
You have to read up on the laws that will apply to you in your state, as they differ nationwide. There could also be specific rules in your local area; for example, if your homeowner’s association has provisions that could prevent your plans. Make sure you understand your city’s zoning laws and HOA rules, if applicable.

Finding the Right Tenant Is Critical
You want to find someone who is going to be an excellent tenant, and who you can trust in your home. Ask yourself, “Is this person right for renting a room in my house?”. If the honest answer is no, look for someone else. Remember renting out your house is a bit different because you won’t have to put up with that person’s behavior and potentially odd habits.

You should screen your potential tenants to check that they can afford to pay the rent and are reliable. Ask for references and check them. Find out about their employment and earnings, and use tenant screening services. Check that everything they tell you is accurate.

When looking for a roommate, you cannot use discriminatory language in your advertising or discriminate in your choice based on the following protected classes:

Racial identity
Religious beliefs
Familial status

There are some exceptions to this rule as you are renting a room in your home with shared spaces. This means that, for example, as a woman, you could ask for a female roommate without breaking the Federal Fair Housing Law.

As a landlord, you also have to respect the privacy of your tenant. That means that you can’t enter their room without their permission unless in an emergency. Whether you are renting a room in your house on your own or hiring a real estate agent, it’s critical that you both understand fair housing laws!

How Much Should You Charge for Rent
Check what similar rooms are being rented for in your area. Compare the facilities they offer and increase or reduce your rental price to match what your space offers.

Is your room furnished? Many people will be looking for a room that has furniture, and if you provide this, you’ll need to take an inventory of the items for the tenant to sign. Check that everything is there when they move out and that it is in good condition.
If there is a lot of demand for living accommodation in your area, you can charge more. If you are still unsure, consult a local real estate agent for their expertise.

Don’t Forget About Taxes
You will need to pay tax on the rent you gain. There will be some tax benefits that reduce the amount you have to pay, however. Things like maintenance, insurance, utilities and advertising can be offset against your tax bill. You need to keep good records of your expenses for the end of the year when you file your taxes.

Rental Agreements Are a Must
You should set out an agreement to make sure there aren’t any misunderstandings. This should include things like the rental amount, when it is due, how it should be paid and rules for using the shared spaces in the home. Add anything to the agreement that you think might be helpful to set rules for. This agreement then needs to be signed by you and the tenant with a copy for both of you.

It is advisable that if you are renting out a room in your house for the first time, hire a real estate attorney who can draw up the agreement. Down the road, if you have a different renter, you’ll be able to use the same form again.

A Security Deposit Is Essential
A security deposit makes sure you won’t lose out if any damage is caused by the renter. There may be laws about how much you can charge for a deposit, and what should be done with the money. It may need to be deposited in a separate bank account or held in a deposit scheme. A reasonable amount to charge as a deposit is one month’s rent; this will have to be returned soon after they’ve moved out.

Just like when buying a home, there is an earnest money deposit—a security deposit in rental agreements is standard. These escrow deposits work to protect the owner’s interest in the property.

Ending the Tenancy
If even after you have screened your tenant, you start to have problems, you should try to discuss the issues with them to resolve the situation. If this isn’t possible, you will have to resort to beginning eviction proceedings. You will likely need the services of a lawyer, and there are strict laws to follow to make sure things go your way.
Before committing to renting a part of your home, make sure you understand the eviction laws for your state. Keep in mind that laws in most states heavily favor tenants and not landlords.

Final Thoughts on Renting Out a Room
Renting out a room in your home is an excellent way of bringing in a bit of extra money to help pay the bills. It is vital, however, to lay down the ground rules early on. One of the most significant disadvantages of renting a room in your house is getting a tenant who is disrespectful. Make sure you do a thorough interview with hard-hitting questions before ever coming to an agreement.

At the first sign of trouble, it’s advisable to speak up. Don’t let issues fester until it becomes a bigger problem. Hopefully, you have enjoyed these tips for renting out a room in your home and can put them to good use.

Bill Gassett is a nationally recognized real estate leader who has been helping people buy and sell MetroWest Massachusetts real estate for the past 33 years. He has been one of the top RE/MAX REALTORS® in New England for the past decade. In 2018, he was the No. 1 RE/MAX real estate agent in Massachusetts.

The post Renting a Room in Your House: What to Know appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

Homes Are Going Under Contract in Record Time

NAR Daily News Magazine - August 26, 2020 - 11:00pm

NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says there are no indications that contract activity will wane anytime soon, particularly in the suburbs.

Categories: Real Estate

Handwashing: Dos and Don’ts

RisMedia Consumer News - August 23, 2020 - 11:01am

(TNS)—Handwashing is an easy way to prevent infection. Understand when to wash your hands, how to properly use hand sanitizer and how to get your children into the habit.

Frequent handwashing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness. Find out when and how to wash your hands properly. 

When to wash your hands. 

As you touch people, surfaces and objects throughout the day, you accumulate germs on your hands. You can infect yourself with these germs by touching your eyes, nose or mouth, or spread them to others. Although it’s impossible to keep your hands germ-free, washing your hands frequently can help limit the transfer of bacteria, viruses and other microbes.

Always wash your hands before:
– Preparing food or eating
– Treating wounds or caring for a sick person
– Inserting or removing contact lenses

Always wash your hands after:
– Preparing food
– Using the toilet, changing a diaper or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
– Touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste
– Blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
– Treating wounds or caring for a sick person
– Handling garbage
– Handling pet food or pet treats

Also, wash your hands when they are visibly dirty.

How to wash your hands.

It’s generally best to wash your hands with soap and water. Over-the-counter antibacterial soaps are no more effective at killing germs than is regular soap.

Follow these steps:
– Wet your hands with clean, running water—either warm or cold.
– Apply soap and lather well.
– Rub your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Remember to scrub all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
– Rinse well.
– Dry your hands with a clean towel or air-dry them.

How to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, which don’t require water, are an acceptable alternative when soap and water aren’t available. If you use a hand sanitizer, make sure the product contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

Follow these steps:
– Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand. Check the label to find out the appropriate amount.
– Rub your hands together.
– Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.

Kids need clean hands, too

Help children stay healthy by encouraging them to wash their hands frequently. Wash your hands with your child to show him or her how it’s done. To prevent rushing, suggest washing hands for as long as it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. If your child can’t reach the sink on his or her own, keep a step stool handy.

Be sure to supervise young children using alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Swallowing alcohol-based sanitizers can cause alcohol poisoning. Store the container safely away after use.

A simple way to stay healthy.

Hand-washing offers great rewards in terms of preventing illness. Adopting this habit can play a major role in protecting your health.

This article is written by Mayo Clinic Staff. Find more health and medical information on

Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding along with guidelines and recommendations may have changed since the original publication date. 

2020© Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

The post Handwashing: Dos and Don’ts appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

July Home Sales Show Recovery Is Sticking

NAR Daily News Magazine - August 20, 2020 - 11:00pm

Extending record gains from June, “the housing market is now booming,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says.

Categories: Real Estate

Where Utility Costs Are Most, Least Expensive

NAR Daily News Magazine - August 20, 2020 - 11:00pm

Utility bills can add up, especially in a pandemic that has forced people to spend more time at home. Homeowners should factor these items into their budget.

Categories: Real Estate

VA Loans Surge to Best Year Ever

NAR Daily News Magazine - August 20, 2020 - 11:00pm

Home loans through the Department of Veterans Affairs have climbed 114% this year. These metros are seeing the most veteran buying activity.

Categories: Real Estate

NAR: Slight Rise in Mortgage Rates Won’t Hurt Buyers

NAR Daily News Magazine - August 20, 2020 - 11:00pm

Housing demand continues to accelerate and provide support to an otherwise stagnant economy.

Categories: Real Estate

Listing Price Growth Puts Sellers in Driver’s Seat

NAR Daily News Magazine - August 20, 2020 - 11:00pm

“Buyers hoping to close on a home this year should expect some hot competition,” says® researcher.

Categories: Real Estate

Five DIY Projects That Could Help Add Value to Your Home

RisMedia Consumer News - August 20, 2020 - 1:35pm

Homeowners across the country have been inspired to roll up their sleeves and jump into home improvement projects that could pay off when it comes time to sell. After all, Zillow research finds 81 percent of people say they’re spending more time at home compared to last year.  If you are getting your home ready to hit the market, you will want to make that time and effort count.

Zillow partnered with Thumbtack to help sellers better estimate the costs of five manageable projects they should consider before listing their home for sale.

Zillow research finds nearly half (43%) of all homeowners say finding DIY time was difficult or very difficult, which may explain why the same percentage of homeowners say they have unfinished home improvement projects.

If you can find the time or hire a pro to complete these projects, it could help boost your bottom line as sale prices climb and homes are selling at their fastest pace in more than two years.  Zillow data finds those who make at least one improvement are more likely to sell their home above their list price than sellers who don’t make any improvements — 23% versus 17%, respectively.

“There are small things anyone can do to present their home in a better light,” said Sue Cohn Darmon, a Zillow Premier Agent in Connecticut with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty. “First impressions go a long way, especially since buyers are now spending more time searching online for homes. Listing photos are going to look better if the home appears well maintained.  If the small things are taken care of, the assumption is that the bigger things that aren’t visible have been taken care of too.”

Zillow has selected five DIY projects recommended by agents that could help increase your home’s value when it comes time to sell.  These home improvements are by no means the only projects a homeowner should consider before selling; previous Zillow research has offered advice for sellers considering more extensive renovations. While many of these projects are correlated with a sale premium or a faster than expected sale, they are not guaranteed to increase your home’s sale price.

Upgrade your Lights

Good lighting can change the atmosphere in your home. Replacing old fixtures with new ones and adding dimmer switches will go a long way in setting the right mood. However, if you replace your fixtures with smart lights controlled by an app, you could save on your energy bill and sell your home faster. Zillow research finds homes mentioning smart lights in their listing description sold seven days faster than expected.

Here’s an easy guide to change a light fixture, but if you want a professional installer to do the job, Thumbtack finds the average cost is $380.

Replace your Faucets

A shiny new faucet can elevate a bathroom or kitchen’s style. Make it a touchless faucet for added appeal, as COVID-era buyers increasingly look for smart features that will keep their homes germ-free.

No previous plumbing skills are required, but attention to detail is key if you want to avoid a flood. Here are the steps to install a faucet, but for a pro touch, Thumbtack finds, on average, you can expect to pay $205 to replace bathroom fixtures.

Landscape Smartly

A Zillow survey from the Harris Poll finds more outdoor space is the top reason people say they would consider moving as a result of social distancing recommendations. That’s why it’s more important than ever to spruce up your yard and create the functional, beautiful outdoor space buyers want.

If you don’t have a green thumb or the right tools, expect to pay $2,600 on average according to Thumbtack for a professional landscaping business to clean up your yard, which typically covers mowing, pruning, weeding, planting new flowers or shrubs, and adding new soil, mulch or bark dust. Homes mentioning landscaping in their listing description can sell for 2.7 percent more than expected, according to Zillow research, so it’s often an investment well worth making.

Add a Fire Pit

Once you’ve landscaped, install a fire pit to create the ultimate family-friendly backyard oasis. Listings mentioning a fire pit can sell for 2.8 percent more than similar homes, according to a Zillow analysis—a higher sale premium than homes mentioning an outdoor fireplace or a chimenea. Here’s how to build your own backyard fire pit in 7 easy steps.

Paint Your Front Door (and More)

A glossy coat of exterior paint on the front door can amp up your curb appeal, but if you’re thinking about resale, you’ll want to be strategic about the color you choose. Zillow research finds homes with black front doors can sell for up to $6,000 more than similar homes.

Take it a step further and paint the entire exterior to send a signal to a buyer that your home is well-maintained. In a survey of Zillow Premier Agents, 77 percent recommended sellers paint their home. Thumbtack finds the average cost of exterior painting is $2,535.

“Taking on DIY projects can give homeowners a perceived sense of control during a time of uncertainty, but they come at the cost of time and effort. A pro may have the right tools and expertise to do the job faster and more effectively,” said Zillow home trends expert Amanda Pendleton. “This research finds the most costly projects are those that start as DIY and end up being completed by a professional.”

“We help homeowners hire local professionals to maintain and add value to their most important investment,” said Thumbtack pro engagement manager Hannah Siegel. “On Thumbtack, you can find help for pretty much anything from painting and landscaping to new flooring and bathroom remodels.”

For more information, visit

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Categories: Real Estate

NAR Issues Fraud Alert Over Suspicious Insurance Calls

NAR Daily News Magazine - August 19, 2020 - 11:00pm

The association is warning members about reports of unsolicited robocalls that are claiming to represent “NAR health insurance.”

Categories: Real Estate

The Most Profitable Places to Buy a Vacation Rental

NAR Daily News Magazine - August 19, 2020 - 11:00pm

As mortgage rates remain low and people look for pandemic-safe getaways, vacation homes are growing in demand, according to a rental site.

Categories: Real Estate
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