Investing in real estate successfully when markets are cooling takes different strategies than when real estate prices were going through the roof.
Here is some advice for investors:
• Go where land is scarce. In some neighborhoods, land appreciates faster than others.
• Look for properties that have been on the market at least 90 days and offer at least 10 percent below the asking price.
• Invest for income, not capital gains.
• If you’re selling, be quick to adjust the price if offers are scarce.
• Do your own marketing, including telling your 50 closest neighbors that the house is for sale.
Preparing for Inspection
If you have owned your real estate for a long time, home inspection can identify any problems and recommend preventive measures which might avoid costly future repairs. In addition, home sellers may opt for having an inspection prior to placing the home on the market to gain better understanding of conditions which the buyer’s inspector may point out. This provides an opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition.
The following suggestions will help to get the home ready for the property checklist, and minimize the need for the home inspector to make a return trip to the home, which may cost an additional fee.
• Ensure pets won’t hinder the home inspection.
• Replace any burned out light bulbs.
• Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
• Clean or replace dirty air filters.
• Move wood, stored items or debris away from foundation.
• Unlock or remove locks from any items the inspector must access.
• Confirm areas and components are accessible by removing items blocking access.
• Trim tree limbs / shrubs from the roof & away from house.
• Repair or replace broken, damaged, missing items.
• Confirm gas, water and electricity are turned on and gas pilots are burning.
Renting a home: The Apartment Inspection
Once you have narrowed your choices for a rental unit, consider the following list of questions as you thoroughly inspect each potential unit. This pre-renting inspection checklist can be used to compare the quality of your choices.
• How much is rent?
• Is there a late charge for paying your rent after the due date?
• Can the rent be increased at any time during the lease?
• What is the length or term of the lease? Is it negotiable?
• How much advance notice must the residents give before the end of the lease
• If they plan to vacate?
• What are the requirements for a full refund of your security deposit?
• Is subleasing allowed? User what conditions?
• Who pays for water, sewage and garbage?
• Who is called for emergencies or repairs?
• Is there a list of rules and regulations for residents of the property?
• Is there a non-refundable cleaning fee or other charge? How much is it?
• Are there limits on the number of occupants in the apartment?
• Are pets allowed? Is there a pet deposit and is it refundable?
• Be sure to obtain a copy of the lease
• Does the building or unit have a security system?
• Is there a working smoke alarm?
• Does the apartment have adequate outdoor lighting?
• What happens if a key is lost?
• Is there a peephole installed?
• Is the refrigerator clean and in working condition?
• Is the heating system gas or electric? Is it in proper working order?
• If the apartment is carpeted, is it clean and in good condition?
• Do all of the fixtures, i.e. faucets, toilet, drains and stoppers in the bathroom work?
• Are there enough windows in the apartment? Do they lock?
• Is there a doorbell? If so, does it work?
• Is there ample study room for all occupants in the apartment?
• Is there sufficient closet space in the apartment?
• Is there a private yard? If so, who maintains it?
• Is the apartment air conditioned? Who will be responsible for replacing the filter?
• Are ceiling fans provided? If not, are they allowed?
• Will all of your furniture fit in the apartment?
• Does the complex have private recreational facilities?
• How far are grocery and convenience stores from the apartment?
This article is part of The Real Estate Today Series by Cathleen V. Carr©2009 All Rights Reserved
Cathleen V. Carr is a Real Estate Broker and Attorney.