How to make a large home feel cozier
Living in a home with a lot of square footage can often feel vast or even cavernous, especially if it also has an open floor plan, vaulted ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows.
But, with a few careful design and decor choices, you can make even the largest of homes feel cozy.
If you’re hoping to make your home feel more comfortable before the temperatures drop, read this for five simple ways to do so.
- Add indoor greenery. Foliage isn’t just for your landscaping. Installing a green wall or having potted succulents can help make a home feel more lived-in and welcoming. You could even add a small herb garden to your kitchen.
- Incorporate more fabrics. Great rugs, thick blankets, soft throw pillows and richly hued window treatments are all excellent ways to give a space an inviting feel with little effort.
- Use soft lighting. Skip fluorescent lighting and large overhead fixtures to make a space feel less stark. Instead, focus on warmer options like table lamps, under-cabinet lights, wall sconces and hanging pendant lights.
- Play to the senses. Find a way to stimulate the senses in your space. Consider adding pleasant-smelling floral bouquets, the soft trickle of a water wall or fountain, or a buttery-soft chaise lounge.
- Decorate with warm color schemes. Bright whites and other monochromatic color schemes only make rooms feel wider (and colder). Picking warmer tones — like yellows, golds and oranges — can make even a large space feel more intimate.
Are you ready to find a luxurious, comfortable property? Get in touch today.
5 water features to transform your property
Water features can aesthetically improve a property by adding visual interest, creating movement and generating calming sounds.
They also come in many forms, so choosing one that fits your style (and your home’s landscaping needs) can be challenging.
Are you unsure about what type of water feature is the right choice for beautifying your property? Here are some options to consider.
A water wall can be an alluring focal point both indoors and outdoors. These structures can be almost any size — and you could even integrate one into a shower, pool or spa area.
Ponds are simple yet impactful additions to any property. You can add one deep in a lush garden or build a pond to serve as the main visual interest at the entrance of your home. Ponds can be home to koi fish and plants like water lilies, cattails and irises.
A waterfall set over carefully placed rocks or near an outdoor entertaining area can be a great way to add drama to your landscaping. And, in addition to their beauty, waterfalls can create calming soundscapes.
Water rills are shallow channels that flow throughout gardens and green areas. You could choose to have them meet at a pond or fountain, too.
For a low-maintenance addition, birdbaths can be a smart choice. Placing one near a bay window or porch may provide great entertainment as the birdbath draws in a wide array of local wildlife.
If you need assistance with anything related to your property — or if you’re in the market for a new one — get in touch.
Is short-term rental investing right for you?
Short-term rentals can be a great income stream — and they’ve been popular with travelers for years.
They can be a viable alternative to traditional rental properties, especially for less-experienced investors who don’t want to be full-time landlords (but still want regular cash flow).
But as with any investment, they’re not completely without risk, and you should weigh your options carefully. Before you decide, take a look at some pros and cons of short-term rental investing.
- More Money: Vacation rentals often command higher prices than long-term rental properties, particularly if they’re located in vacation hotspots.
- Passive Income: Running short-term rentals can be pretty hands-off, especially if you hire a cleaning crew and property manager.
- Tax Perks: Since the property is a business, you can write off a lot of the expenses on your tax returns.
- Operating Costs: Unlike traditional rentals, you’ll need to furnish the property. It will also have to be cleaned between each visit, and toiletries and other important items need to remain stocked for all guests.
- Financial Qualification: Loans for investment properties usually have stricter requirements than those for primary residences, including down payments, credit scores and other financial factors.
- Potential Volatility: There’s no guarantee your short-term rental will be booked constantly. Vacation demand may ebb and flow, particularly in more seasonal areas.
Think a short-term rental could be a good investment opportunity for you? Get in touch today to begin your search.
Do you know what you want in your next property?
Unless you’ve found the perfect lot and are building a custom home from the ground up, it can be difficult to check every box when buying a property. In most cases, you need to make some concessions.
As you search for a home, it’s important to have a clear view of your wants, needs and deal breakers — including whether your priority is a place with acres of land or one with awe-inspiring views. These characteristics may be mutually exclusive.
If you’re unsure which you would choose, consider these factors to zero in on the right decision.
Pets and Kids
If you have pets, kids or both, a more spacious property might be a great fit. It would give your four-legged friends somewhere to run, and it could lend itself to amenities like a backyard playscape and swimming pool.
Urban or Rural
Do you want a metropolitan life, with access to restaurants, clubs and museums, or is a more secluded and private existence your preference? You often need to buy off the beaten path if you want a place with lots of space, while an urban location is likely to offer gorgeous city views and plenty of amenities.
What style of home do you want? If you’re seeking a more modern aesthetic, a high-rise with panoramic views may be a good choice. If you’d rather have a more traditional home with a wrap-around porch or sprawling gardens, a spacious suburban or rural property could be for you.
Reach out if you need help finding the perfect place for your next home purchase.
What to do if a neighbor encroaches on your property
Neighbors can be helpful and friendly, but they can also be a pain sometimes — especially if they start encroaching on your property. Maybe you have a neighbor whose trees are out of hand or one who wants to put a fence over the property line.
Either way, it’s a nuisance — and it’s something you’ll want to solve before the situation devolves.
Are you dealing with a property encroachment issue? Do you want to be prepared in case it happens? Try these options for handling it.
- Talk it out. No one wants a long-term row with neighbors, so having a calm, civil conversation about the issue should be your first line of defense. Tell them what’s going on, and ask them to resolve it. Bring your property survey (if you have one) so you can run through the property boundaries with them if necessary.
- Bring in a surveyor. If you don’t already have a property survey (or if it’s been a while since yours was done), call a professional surveyor to conduct one. They’ll verify the boundaries of your property and outline its exact shape and parameters.
- Speak with a real estate attorney. If the survey clearly shows your neighbor is encroaching on your property and they’ve failed to remedy the situation, you may want to seek legal counsel. At the very least, they can send a letter that compels the neighbor to act. If this fails, filing a lawsuit against the neighbor may be the next step.
Do you want to expand your property portfolio? Get in touch today to start your search.
How to gift real estate to a nonprofit
Donating money isn’t the only way to give back or make a difference in the causes you find important: Real estate can have a life-changing impact, too.
Not only can property donations improve the organizations and causes you hold dear, but they also come with financial benefits for you.
Are you considering donating some real estate to a charity or nonprofit you value? Here’s what to know about the process.
What can you donate?
When you want to give real estate to charities and nonprofits, you can donate vacant lots, historic structures, farmland, commercial buildings, rental properties and more.
Are there IRS rules?
Yes. If the property is worth less than $5,000, all you’ll need from the nonprofit is a receipt. If it’s worth more than that, you’ll have to make sure to have the charity complete Form 8283.
What are the pros and cons?
- Pros: A notable perk is that you won’t have to pay capital gains taxes on the property’s increase in value. You can also deduct the contribution from your taxes.
- Cons: One drawback is that you won’t be selling the property and earning any returns from it. You also won’t be able to bequeath it to your loved ones as part of your estate.
What else should you know?
If you’re considering donating real estate to a qualified organization, make sure to talk to a financial advisor about it first. They can walk you through the pros and cons in your specific situation. You might also want to talk to your estate planning attorney to ensure it fits your long-term goals.
Get in touch if you have questions or need help finding your next property.
Do you know how to market your rental properties?
Rental properties can be lucrative investments — if you have tenants that allow you to keep your vacancies few and far between. That can sometimes be easier said than done.
Having a great agent by your side can certainly help you keep your properties full, but there are strategies you can master as a property owner that will also help (and possibly even lead to higher rents).
Do you want to ensure your rentals are profitable for you? Here’s what you can do:
- Know your audience. Are you targeting college students? Pet owners? Carving out a niche will help you prep and market your property appropriately.
- Have a dedicated online presence. Most of today’s renters find their properties online, so make sure your company — and each individual property — has its own website and social media profile. There should be photos, floor plans, rent details and a way to contact you.
- Be upfront about amenities or unique features. Play up your properties’ more unique elements that might help them stand out from others in the community. Consider what each property has to offer: It might be a garage, ample storage, great views or updated flooring.
- Hire professionals to help you. You’ll have the most success (and likely command the best rents) by calling in the pros. That means getting a skilled stager, a top-notch photographer and a knowledgeable agent who can guide the way.
Ready to bring in new tenants or invest in a new rental property? Reach out today for help.
How to protect your house while you're away
Summer is approaching — and that may mean you’ll spend more time traveling.
If you’re planning trips for the summer, don’t forget to plan beyond flights and the packing checklist: You’ll also want to make arrangements to keep your primary home (and all of your belongings) safe while you’re away.
Take these steps to ensure your home’s safety when you’re gone on lengthy getaways.
- Use smart tech to your advantage. Smart technologies can help you monitor your property. A doorbell with a camera and remote locking systems can help you control access to your home (for cleaning staff, for example), and you can control lights and blinds via an app to make it look like you’re home.
- Hire a house sitter. Having a responsible person in the home while you’re away can be a great way to deter theft, ensure the home is cared for and keep your mail from piling up. They can also help manage any house staff or lawn care crews.
- Set up a home security system. Make sure to have a comprehensive security system at your home. It should be complete with cameras, motion detection and remote access so you can check in from afar.
- Keep your trip quiet. Don’t post on any social accounts that you’re going out of town (or when you’re doing it), and don’t talk about it among people you don’t know well. Making this information public could make your home a target for theft.
- Communicate with your service professionals. You want to ensure your home is maintained properly while you’re away. Connect with your landscaping, cleaning, maintenance and other home professionals ahead of your trip. Set up a schedule for your absence, and make sure someone is there to supervise at those dates and times.
If you’re looking to invest in your next property, get in touch today.
3 tips for hiring an interior designer
Whether you’re decorating a new home or giving your current one a facelift, consulting a professional designer is crucial.
They can help bring your vision and personal aesthetic to life and ensure your home is in line with current trends. That latter part is key if you plan to host events or list the home within the next few years.
Are you looking to hire an interior designer? Focus on these steps.
Narrow down the costs and timeline of your project. Put together a list of what projects you want to be done, what style you’re going for, and pictures for inspiration.
Then, settle on your budget, and determine which items you’ll be willing to splurge on. Having a handle on what you’re looking for, as well as what you’re willing to pay for, is vital before you can begin looking for designers.
Get a handful of referrals. Ask friends, colleagues and family members (whose homes you love) about the designers they’d recommend.
Do your research: Check out their portfolios and social media, or set up a quick call to get to know them better. You want to ensure they fit your style and needs well.
Make sure you have a contract. Don’t start working with a designer until you and the designer have signed a contract you both agree on.
It should outline the timeline, budget and any other expectations for the work being done. The contract should protect both parties from any miscommunication.
Looking for a referral to an interior designer? Or are you ready to purchase a new property? Get in touch today for assistance.
Do you want to freshen up your landscaping?
How often do you make changes to your home’s landscaping? Do you ever get tired of the same plants, color schemes and hardscaping?
Maybe you’re ready to create a new look based on the season, or maybe you’re experimenting with trends — like updating your home, it can be exciting to redesign your outdoor space.
Want to freshen up your landscape? Here are the 2023 trends you’ll want on your radar.
- New Victorian: This trend is all about ease and delicacy. Imagine a rolling garden with a maze of stone pathways, green spaces and plentiful benches. It often features a varied color palette, romantic accents like white fences and bird baths, and more traditional flowers such as lilacs, roses and hollyhock.
- Maximalism: With a maximalist garden, you can expect bold colors, patterned accents and large, playful decor. This trendy look aims to seamlessly combine elements like handmade tile, textured walls, and a mixture of colors, materials and patterns.
- Dedicated Entertaining Spaces: Areas for outdoor entertainment are in high demand these days. Features that fall into this category include outdoor kitchens, clusters of cozy seats around a fire pit and covered patios for alfresco dining.
- Native Planting: There’s a big focus on native flora these days — plants that are indigenous to the region and ecosystem in which you live. Not only are these plants easier to care for, but many also require less water, making them ideal for drought-prone areas and homeowners looking to be more sustainable. And, of course, they also look great.
The right landscaping also offers unique curb appeal. Are you thinking of selling soon? Get in touch for more help maximizing your home’s value.
What to know about moving your valuables
Owning valuable artwork, antiques and collectibles can bring many homeowners joy — but when it comes time to move, they’re often a challenging burden.
Many moving companies refuse to handle these higher-priced items for fear of having to repair or replace them (if that’s even possible).
Fortunately, there are still ways to get these valuable items moved. Want to ensure your prized possessions are relocated safely and securely during your next move? Here’s what you need to know.
Understand how "high-value" is defined. Moving companies may have different ways of defining "high value" — and, therefore, what items they will and won’t move. You can generally expect things over $1,000 or $100 per pound to necessitate a high-value inventory form.
Prepare for your move. If your moving company will handle your valuables, fill out an inventory form and have them sign it. They should also bring quality packing materials like double-walled boxes or wooden crates and, if necessary, offer climate-controlled moving. You may want to purchase added insurance to protect your items, too.
Look for specialty movers. Some moving companies specialize in antiques, artwork and other high-value assets. Consider finding one in your area to ensure your items get the best care.
Think about your irreplaceable items. One thing to contemplate when moving high-value items is how replaceable they are. For example, if you have a family heirloom that cannot be replaced even with insurance, you may want to bring it to your new property yourself. Then, you can ensure it’s not damaged, lost or stolen along the way.
Are you ready for your next move? Get in touch today.
How to bring natural elements indoors
Today’s interior design is all about bringing the outside in — using nature to transform a space, inspire its decor and make a property more sustainable.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean putting greenery everywhere and turning your home into a bohemian garden. There are plenty of sophisticated ways to bring this trending style to life.
Want to incorporate biophilic and natural design into your home? Here are five luxe ways to do it.
- Floor-to-Ceiling Windows: Nothing says nature like lots of natural light. Sunlight can also help reduce your home’s energy use since you’ll need to use your heat and lights less.
- Natural Stone Finishes: Limestone, marble and other natural finishes can be great ways to bring in nature while keeping your home’s aesthetic sleek and sophisticated. You can use these materials for countertops and flooring throughout your home.
- Indoor-Outdoor Spaces: Rooms that seamlessly transition from indoor to outdoor are a popular way of embracing nature. You could design the kitchen to easily flow to an outdoor patio where you and your guests can enjoy meals alfresco.
- Living Walls: Walls with real greenery and flowers are a great way to add visual interest and a touch of nature. They’re a fantastic way to bring a taste of your landscape design indoors.
- Nature-Inspired Accents: Small accents and decor can easily evoke the essence of nature without feeling too outdoorsy. Items like clay pots, rattan poufs and wool throw blankets will cozy up your home in style.
Do you want help locating an experienced interior designer? Or are you looking to invest in a new property? Get in touch today so we can find what you need.
5 questions to ask before buying a vacation home
Vacation homes can be great investments: They offer a much-needed getaway and can be turned into income-earning properties. And, if you choose wisely, they can deliver serious long-term returns.
But buying a vacation home also takes careful consideration — particularly if you want to maximize the value you get from the home.
Here are some things to think about when you’re considering a vacation property:
- Will you use the home for income? When you’re not using the property, will you rent it out to travelers? If so, who will manage that business and handle all the bookings and cleanings? You may want to bring in a property management company if you need help.
- How will you maintain it? Maintaining your vacation property is critical if you want it to hold long-term value. Will you hire someone to care for it? Schedule regular maintenance trips? Make sure you have a plan before you buy.
- What are the tax implications? Owning another property is going to impact your taxes, as well as the deductions you’re eligible for. Meet with a tax professional early to ensure you’re prepared for these changes.
- Will there be extra costs? A vacation home will come with different expenses than your primary home. There may be HOA dues, taxes for operating a short-term rental, costs for traveling to the property and more.
- What are the risks? Every investment has risks, so make sure you run through possible scenarios: The home could lose value, a renter could damage the property, or you might use it less than you think. You’ll need to be willing to take these risks or find ways to prevent those that are in your control.
Reach out if you have questions or need help looking for a vacation home that checks your boxes.
How do luxury buildings provide exclusivity?
Buying a luxury apartment isn’t just about location or floor plan. It’s also about exclusivity: Certain buildings can offer unique experiences, access and opportunities that aren’t possible elsewhere.
But exclusive amenities vary widely from one property to the next, so knowing what type of lifestyle you’re looking for is critical before you begin hunting for your next property.
Are you considering investing in a new apartment? Here are just a few exclusive amenities you might look out for when you do.
- Exclusive Restaurants: Many high-end buildings offer private restaurants for residents, often on the top floor, rooftop or down by an adjacent beach. They typically boast menus from celebrity and Michelin-starred chefs.
- Private Beach Space: Oceanside properties will sometimes offer waterfront exclusivity. For example, they may have beach areas, clubs for mingling and dining, and even docks and marinas for use only by residents.
- Athletic Options: Courts for tennis, basketball and pickleball, as well as private golf courses, might be perks you can expect to be included at luxury buildings. Many also offer well-appointed gyms, training facilities and pools (including rooftop and infinity options).
- Airport Facilities: Some properties partner with local executive airports to reserve space and services for residents, particularly those who travel via private jet often.
- Private Medical Clinics: On-site medical services may be an option in some buildings, too. They provide pharmacy services as well as emergency and primary care — some may even offer house calls.
- Social Clubs: For many residents, exclusive social clubs are the true standout of luxury living. Here, you can meet other residents and participate in curated activities and programming just for those who live there.
Which exclusive amenities stand out to you? Reach out today to find a property that has what you’re looking for.
What's your property investing strategy?
Investing in real estate is often a smart move. It presents opportunities to diversify your portfolio, help you build long-term wealth, and provide a nest egg for retirement.
But there are so many ways to invest in real estate, and they’re not all right for everyone.
Are you considering getting into property investing — or continuing to broaden your real estate investments? Here are a few options, plus how to determine which methods might be right for you.
This can be a great option if you find land at a good price — whether you want to develop the land yourself or think it will be in high demand with developers down the line. Be prepared to research local zoning regulations, building codes and other details to be sure you’re purchasing in the right area.
Investing in residential real estate can be smart to rent out short-term for vacationers or long-term for regular tenants. Multifamily properties allow you to rent out to several tenants simultaneously, but be sure you can handle the work and costs.
Are you the handy type? Fixer-uppers may be another option. These properties need a bit of work: You can update them, make repairs, and resell them for a profit. You can also pick up several of these at a time if you have the funds (and the contacts for getting renovations done quickly).
Commercial real estate may be something to consider, too, though it’s very different from residential. Strip malls, office buildings and warehouses fall under this umbrella.
No matter what kind of property you choose, it’s important to have a knowledgeable team on your side. Get in touch so we can work together to find the right investment for your goals.
5 features that can add to a home's value
Renovations can make your home a better place to be — and they can increase its value, too. Some renovations offer more value than others, whether for your primary residence, vacation home, or investment property.
Generally, trendy updates will add value today. But in the long haul, they could detract from your eventual sale profits.
Want to make sure you’re choosing the right renovations for your properties? Focus on high-value projects like these:
Curb Appeal: Improving the home’s exterior look will always add value — think colorful landscaping or a new front door. Updates that require little maintenance and upkeep are particularly popular.
Smart Home Features: Smart home tech that increases convenience or makes a home more energy efficient can add long-term value. Top options include smart thermostats, Energy Star appliances, and smart security systems — items that should get plenty of use over the years.
Great Views: Improving the views from your home, particularly in areas like the main bedroom, the kitchen or from the backyard, can do wonders for your home’s value. So how can you do this? Remove trees that block views; add large, floor-to-ceiling windows; or install a spacious balcony.
Luxury Amenities: What constitutes a luxury upgrade? Saunas, infinity pools, gated driveways and outdoor kitchens are all great choices. They can make your home more marketable when it comes time to sell, as well as potentially add to your asking price.
A Fresh Paint Job: Don’t underestimate the value of repainting both the interior and exterior of the home. Just make sure you choose classic hues, typically neutral colors, that will stand the test of time.
Are you looking for an investment property to renovate — or a turnkey vacation home? Get in touch for help finding the perfect fit.
What is a passively designed home?
If reducing your energy consumption, carbon footprint or energy bill is important, you should explore the world of passive design.
Passively designed homes rely on natural heating and cooling processes — not those powered by gas or electricity — to keep a comfortable atmosphere. By some accounts, they use as much as 90% less energy than traditionally constructed properties.
Here’s what you need to know if you’d like to build a passive home.
What is passive home design?
A passively designed home is one in which the property's site, structure, materials, layout and more are specifically chosen to create the ideal internal environment without using external energy sources like gas or electricity.
Design elements — like where windows are placed, the direction of the home’s facade, insulation materials and other purposeful choices — play prime roles in this type of home.
What are the benefits of passive home design?
You may want a passive home for reduced energy output, lower utility bills and a smaller carbon footprint. Passively designed homes may also be more marketable once you try to sell since they save buyers on utility costs and offer a more sustainable lifestyle.
How can you employ passive design?
Passive design is something you’ll want to have in mind from the start — in the early stages of planning your next home or vacation property. It requires conscientious choices in every design aspect, including layout, materials and even site selection. It’s critical to work with an architect who’s familiar with passive design.
Get in touch today if you're interested in having a passively designed home. We can find a property that’s a match or reach out to established professionals to start on your project.
These are the 5 design trends to watch in 2023
Interior design trends come and go all the time, and 2023 will be no different.
What can you do to keep your space fresh and on the cutting edge of design now — and for years to come?
Professionals have some ideas. Take a look at what trends interior designers say are en route for the coming year (and which ones will start falling by the wayside).
Arches and Alcoves: Gone are the harsh corners and lines of modernist decor. Instead, softer curves and alcoves are the latest look — in furniture, decor and, most importantly, architecture.
Wellness Spaces: Health and wellness have been big priorities in the luxury real estate space in the last few years. Experts predict this will continue, with barre rooms, zen gardens and spacious personal spas in demand.
Black and White: Dramatic design is back, so bring in the checkerboards and stark black furnishings. Striking black-and-white wall treatments and rugs will also be in for 2023.
Statement Walls: These aren’t the one-hue accent walls you’re used to: Think murals, colorful abstract wall treatments, and unique patterned wallpaper your guests won’t find anywhere else. Expect this trend to be all over your social media feeds.
Lavender Hues: Light purple is having a moment, and you can expect 2023 to be a big year for this color. It’s a top choice for bringing a calming color to walls, furnishings and accents.
Are you thinking of investing in a new property or selling your current one in the new year? Let’s chat!
What's the best way to purchase property sight unseen?
Though the market has slowed quite a bit in recent months, some buyers are still purchasing homes without seeing them in person — and for good reason.
Most of them are buying from afar, up against stiff competition, or on a tight timeline that puts acting quickly above all else.
Whatever the reason, there are ways to be prudent about it. Are you considering a sight-unseen purchase? Here’s how you can minimize your risk.
Do some additional research. We can go over the home’s history and the local market together, but you can supplement that by seeing if the property and surrounding area are a good fit for your lifestyle. Sign up for local social media groups to get a feel for the community, and look up the street view to get a better idea of the neighborhood.
Keep safeguards in place. Buying sight unseen is a risk, so don’t let other guards down if you can help it. It’s recommended that you keep your inspection contingency, ensuring you’re not stuck with a property with real (and often costly) issues. Including appraisal contingencies and financing contingencies in your offer is also a smart idea.
Stay in touch. We’ll stay in contact regularly, so you always have access to the information you need. If you want video home tours and photos, we can make that happen too. Be sure to provide any feedback on properties in a timely fashion, and get in touch as soon as possible should your timeline, goals or budget change. We’re in this together.
Looking for a new property? Whether or not you’re ready to buy sight unseen, please reach out for all your real estate needs.
4 tips for hosting houseguests
Hosting guests can be one of the best parts of being a homeowner: You get to spend time with friends and family while offering them a relaxing, enjoyable experience away from home.
And while you may host year-round, it’s almost prime hosting season. As the holidays near, guests become more frequent — so the time to prepare is now.
Will you have houseguests in the coming months? Here are four tips to ensure a lovely experience for all.
Designate a cozy, private space. Your guests love to spend time with you, but they also need a space to call their own. Make sure they have a closed-off area that’s theirs, ideally with a private bathroom, closet and other necessities.
Plan ahead for refreshments. You’ll need food and beverages available when your guests arrive. Coordinate with them ahead of time to get their dietary preferences and limitations, including allergies. Then, stock up on groceries or have meals catered for the duration of their stay.
Check the connections. Make sure your guests’ space gets good Wi-Fi reception, and work on optimizing it before they arrive if there’s not a strong signal. You should also print out cards with your Wi-Fi network name and password, then place them on a dresser or nightstand where they’re visible.
Pamper your guests. Anyone staying with you will need pillows, linens, toiletries and towels to make their stay comfortable. Have fresh, clean linens and towels ready in their suite, and provide them with unopened soap, shampoo and other necessities.
Are you interested in finding a home with more room or better amenities for hosting? Reach out today to start your search.
Do you know how you'll pass down property?
Passing down your properties can evoke a feeling of pride. After all, you worked hard for them — and they may bring your heirs great wealth down the line.
But bequeathing real estate requires careful planning, and there are many ways you can go about it.
Do you want to ensure your heirs receive your homes or vacation properties once you pass on? Here are some common options to consider:
- Name heirs in your will. You can make arrangements for your heirs and properties in your last will and testament. Wills are usually executed through probate court, which could make passing down the property take longer. Be sure to work with an experienced estate planning attorney when drafting your will to minimize complications.
- Create a trust. Setting up a trust in your heirs’ names is a smart way to pass on your properties, and it can even help them avoid probate court. But take note: Once a house is in an irrevocable trust, it (or the proceeds from selling it) must remain there.
- Do a deed transfer. Many states allow you to execute a transfer-on-death deed, which allows you to automatically hand down a property when you pass away (or when both you and your spouse are gone). Until that time, you remain in control of the property.
- Gift or sell the property. While you’re still living, you’re welcome to sell or gift the property to your children or other loved ones. If you decide to gift a home, you will likely owe gift taxes on its value, so talk to your tax professional before choosing this strategy.
Please get in touch if you’re interested in adding to your real estate holdings.
How to keep your rental properties covered
When it comes to real estate, all insurance policies aren’t created equal.
On your primary home, a basic homeowners insurance policy may suffice. But on rental properties, that’s not enough — financially or legally.
Do you have rental properties in your investment portfolio? This rundown of four types of insurance policies is a good place to start if you want to protect yourself and your property.
Landlord or Rental Property Insurance
There are a couple of different names for these policies, which protect you if your property is damaged due to certain weather events. It should also include liability coverage in case your tenant or their guest is injured on the property.
Rent Guarantee Insurance
If your tenant stops paying rent, the insurance company can step in and compensate you for those months of lost income.
Loss of Income Insurance
While this sounds similar to rent guarantee insurance, loss of income insurance protects you if your property becomes uninhabitable (and you can no longer earn income from it). If that happens, you’ll get paid for some or all of your lost income during that period.
Umbrella insurance is a popular policy that provides extra protection, filling in the gaps where other policies might fall short. It usually offers additional liability and damage coverage on top of your existing insurance.
Depending on where the property is located, you might also want flood, earthquake or fire insurance, and you should require tenants to have renters’ and pet policies, too. When doing renovations or construction on the property, builder’s risk insurance might also be necessary.
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5 upgrades that could boost resale value
Renovating your home can be a great way to boost its value. But you should be aware that not all projects are created equal — at least when it comes to the return on your investment.
Some updates can deliver on resale value, while others hold very little monetary worth (or may even negatively impact your resale price).
Are you looking to update your home and increase its value in the process? Here are some projects you should focus on.
- Upgrade your entryway. Replacing your grand entrance is one of the highest-ROI projects you can take on, according to Remodeling Magazine. Adding a steel door may result in 64% of costs recouped, while expanding to a more spacious grand entrance could bring you a 60% return.
- Give the kitchen a facelift. A minor kitchen remodel might offer a return of 71% (possibly equaling $20,000 in resale value). For this, focus on updating big-picture items like the counters, appliances and cabinets.
- Add an outdoor entertaining area. Wooden decks could net you a 65% return on investment, but don’t stop there. Consider designing a full outdoor kitchen and entertainment space with a grill, fridge, bar area and seating.
- Invest in landscaping. Curb appeal is almost always a worthwhile investment. For the most value, focus on adding greenery that will stand the test of time, including trees and shrubs. Living walls are on-trend, too.
- Remodel the bathroom. Doing an upscale bathroom update could lead to a 54% ROI. To refresh the space, you can replace the tub, install chic new tiling and upgrade the sink and vanity area.
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