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3 Things to Consider Before Registering Your Home on a Short-Term Rental Site

Once upon a time, the idea of renting out your home to a stranger while you left for vacation was considered quite odd.

Today, renting a room in your house (or the entire house) to unknown travelers isn’t an outlandish concept, thanks in part to online services such as Airbnb, FlipKey and VRBO. Short-term rentals provide an income opportunity for owners and a unique way for visitors to experience a city. What better way to get the local experience than staying with – or renting from – locals?

If you think you’re up to being a host of a short-term rental, here are three things to keep in mind.

1. Legality

The rise in popularity of Airbnb and other sites hasn’t been without its controversy. There are concerns that short-term rentals threaten the jobs of hotel workers, and that a short-term rental doesn’t have to pass the same certifications and inspections of regular hotels.

Some cities have enacted restrictions against short-term rentals. You may need to register and get a permit or a license – or you may not be able to host at all. Check with your local government to make sure you understand the laws.

2. Taxes

You may not need to report the money earned from the short-term rental of your home if you meet both of these requirements:

1. You rent it out for fewer than 14 days a year AND

2. You live in it for more than 14 days or more than 10 percent of the total days you rent it out during the year (this determines if the property is seen as a residence or a rental property by the IRS).

Still unclear about the taxes on your short-term rental? TurboTax provides some more information, or you may want to consult with a tax professional.

3. Additional Costs

Renting out your home could mean an extra insurance bill. Check with your insurance agent to learn what your current policy covers regarding short-term renters. They may recommend increasing coverage. Airbnb does provide free primary liability coverage for up to $1,000,000 per occurrence, and many of the other sites have partnerships that make it easy to take out additional coverage, if needed.

In addition to insurance, you’ll have to pay a percentage of the rental income to the website: Airbnb and FlipKey both charge a 3% host service fee, VRBO has an option to pay-per-booking or an annual subscription fee.

Start your first home buying experience off the right way by finding a real estate agent who works for you at remaxallpro.com.

 

Expert Advice: Staging Your Home for Selling Season

If you own a home, it is likely one of your largest investments. When the time comes to move up or downsize, you want to do everything in your power to protect your equity and get your asking price – or more. One way to ensure your home is listed, and purchased, at the right price point is to work with a real estate agent to boost your home’s buyer appeal. Check out these home-staging tips from experts across the country.

  1. Depersonalize and Neutralize

A home filled with someone else’s personal belongings and clutter can make potential buyers feel as though they are invading private space.

“Neutralizing the atmosphere encourages buyers to envision themselves living there,” says Leslie Cain with RE/MAX Realty Affiliates in Carson City, Nevada. “Think of staging your home as an investment – it typically costs less than a first price reduction [if the home doesn’t sell].”

  1. Focus on Feature Rooms

Your real estate agent can help you see your home from the buyer’s eyes. Focus on the dining and living areas as well as the master bedroom.

“A common mistake is relocating clutter to closets – buyers will look there, too,” said Kathy Henne with RE/MAX Finest in Piqua, Ohio. “It’s best to move all unnecessary belongings out of the house and keep the space as sparsely furnished as possible. Once you have a cleared space, make sure to give it a deep cleaning.”

  1. Go Virtual

You want your home to be clean and decluttered, of course, but not having enough furniture can also be a problem, says Cynthia Fazzini with the Fazzini Group at RE/MAX Realtec Group in Palm Harbor, Florida.

“Since most potential homebuyers begin their home searches online, we often recommend digital staging to our clients with vacant homes,” said Fazzini. “Adding in furniture, artwork and rugs gives the home warmth and helps the buyer envision how the space can look with their belongings and decorations. We recently took on a new construction home that was vacant and had been on the market for six months with multiple price reductions. After digital staging, the house was under contract in seven days.”

Find an experienced real estate agent who can guide you through the home-selling process at remaxallpro.com.

Holiday Traditions room by room.

There’s no place like home for the holidays. Whether you are a new homeowner, or are celebrating another holiday season in your well-loved home, your living spaces can be integral in making memories with family and friends. Time to put some holiday music on, gather up the kids and start creating these holiday traditions now, one room at a time.

Kitchen
With so much delicious food to make and bake during the holiday season, your kitchen is an easy place to begin creating holiday traditions. Baking cookies, frying latkes or building gingerbread houses (complete with a RE/MAX sign!) are activities in which the whole family can participate. You can go one step further and take your cooking skills to a local soup kitchen to support your community during this season of giving.

Living Room
Often the center of the home, your living room-is where the hustle and bustle of the holidays melts away. Kick back with a holiday movie, start a fire and decorate the Christmas tree as a family in matching holiday sweaters, no less! Light the menorah or host a New Year’s Eve party. The holidays can be stressful-use your home as a sanctuary to focus and reflect on what this time of year means to you.

Outdoors
When you think of holiday traditions outside, colorful lights and an inflatable Santa come to mind. But don’t dismiss other low-stress outdoor activities like sparklers in the snow, sky lanterns or caroling. If you can handle the cold, or live in a temperate climate, plan a get-together around an outdoor fire (complete with a yule log) on the Winter Solstice.

At RE/MAX, our agents find homes that match your life and style. Are you ready to start making traditions in a home of your own? Find an agent here.

Happy Holidays!

On behalf of everyone at RE/MAX All-Pro, we want to wish our community a joyful holiday season and a prosperous New Year!  We are eternally grateful for the bountiful blessings bestowed upon us in 2017, and we hope you are all able to take the time to reflect on the things you are thankful for, as well as your dreams and goals for 2018. The holiday season reminds us that our relationships—whether it be with family, friends, coworkers, or even people we interact with for only a short time—are what truly make life meaningful. Wishing you all a happy, peaceful, and successful New Year.

– Keny and Cheyanne Terracciano

4 Things We Learned from RE/MAX in the 2017 TV Campaign

Today’s blog is written by Camp + King, the award-winning ad agency behind “The Sign of a RE/MAX Agent” campaign, launched in 2016. New ads in the campaign will begin airing this month.

4 Things We Learned from RE/MAX … and How it Influenced the 2017 TV Campaign

1. When buying or selling a house, everyone has opinions and advice.

Yet NAR research on Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends shows that younger buyers still want an agent to help them understand the process and negotiate better contract terms. Even in the internet-age, agents are still an essential part of the home-buying journey because they help separate knowledge from noise.

2. Every 30 seconds, a RE/MAX agent helps someone buy or sell a home.

Staggering, isn’t it? That means in the time it takes to brush your teeth, four homes were bought or sold by a RE/MAX agent. We thought it would be fun to dramatize this with a series of 15- and 30-second spots that show all the things you can do in the time it takes for a RE/MAX agent to buy or sell another home.

3. A house doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

The city, the neighborhood, the school, the street – all factor into finding the perfect home. Luckily, RE/MAX agents go above and beyond to help you find your little corner of the world. One of the commercials in this year’s campaign tells the story of an agent who checks all the boxes and finds the perfect place for her clients.

4. Surround yourself with great people and expect great results.

Since the advertising campaign represents the best-of-the-best agents, we had to get a best-of-the-best director to shoot it: Roman Coppola. That’s right – the Academy Award-nominated screenwriter (for “Moonrise Kingdom,” which he co-wrote with none other than Wes Anderson) and co-creator of the Golden Globe-winning “Mozart in the Jungle.” Not only was he a pleasure to work with, his attention to detail and dedication rivaled a RE/MAX agent’s.

Keep an eye out for the new round of RE/MAX ads airing during your favorite TV shows – or watch all of the ads on YouTube

9 Ways to Cool Down Your Home This Summer

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Cranking up the AC can also crank up your electric bill. Here are a few alternative ways to keep your home cool this summer.

1. Swap bulbs
If you still haven’t switched to CFLs for environmental or economic reasons, do it to be cool. Incandescent bulbs waste about 90 percent of their energy through the heat they emit.

2. Keep a cool head
Try out a buckwheat pillow for bedtime. They don’t absorb and retain heat like cotton and down pillows.

3. DIY AC
Place a big bowl of ice water in front of a fan for a cheap alternative to central air.

4. Mind the blinds
Close your window blinds or curtains when you leave to prevent your home from heating up like a greenhouse while you’re gone.

5. Grill and chill
Cooking outside on the barbecue keeps you from heating up your home with a stove or oven. It also minimizes the time you have to sweat over the dishes.

6. Don’t block your breeze
Open internal doors at night to maximize any fresh, cool air that makes its way inside.

7. Change direction
For the summer, set your ceiling fan to rotate in a counterclockwise direction to create a cooling, downward airflow. In winter, turn the setting back to clockwise to recirculate warm air.

8. Suck it up
Use your bathroom fan when you shower and your exhaust fan when you use your stovetop. They’ll help draw the hot air up and out of the room.

9. Unplug
Electronics emit heat when they’re plugged in, even if they’re turned off. Unplug them, or use a smart power strip, when you’re not using them.

Want a cool new place to call home? Learn what your cold cash (or approved mortgage amount) can buy in today’s market. Start by finding an experienced agent here.

4 Things That Only A Realtor Knows

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According to the National Association of Realtors, 42 percent of homebuyers start their home search online, and 92 percent use the Web during the home search process. While the Internet can be a good place to start looking, there are things real estate agents know about the process of buying and selling a home that can’t be found in any Web browser.

Here are a few.

1. How to price a home

When setting a listing price, agents consider scores of factors, from local and national market trends and neighborhood development activity to the latest buyer preferences for kitchen appliances and landscaping. Every home is unique, and an agent with a track record of success knows how to price it attractively in the market.

The Internet isn’t always much help when it comes to comparison shopping, either. Many of the same factors that help an agent set an appropriate listing price aren’t available in an algorithm, so online estimators aren’t always accurate – and could be costly if you purchase without consulting a real, live professional.

2. Marketing offline

While online marketing can certainly be valuable, agents have networks of contacts and years of experience to round out their marketing plans.

And, for buyers, agents often can tap into their network to learn about great properties before they hit the real estate websites or even the MLS.

3. Key points in the process

If you find a home you love online, the website won’t be there to guide you through a mortgage application, find a home inspector or advise you what to do if an inspection reveals issues.

4. How to negotiate

Having an experienced, professional negotiator drive your transaction can be vital to reaching a fair price for the property you’re buying or selling. A website can give you an estimate of how much a property should cost, but it can’t evaluate whether that’s a great price or not.

One way the Web is helpful in real estate? Finding a great agent to work with. Start your search here.

5 Things to Know About Your Neighbors Before You Sell

Neighbors

Considering selling your home? You may be competing against your neighbors. Here are some things to look at with an agent before you list:

1. Who’s remodeled?

Tap into the neighborhood grapevine to find out who’s remodeled their kitchen and upgraded their bathroom. An agent can look up the listing and sale price of those homes to find out if updates made a difference.

2. How fast are homes selling?

Keep an eye on how quickly neighborhood homes have been moving off the market. A low inventory may mean you can set a higher listing price. Your realtor can add valuable pricing insight.

3. Take inventory of the inventory

It’s difficult to fetch a competitive price when you’re competing for buyers. If several homes are for sale on your street, waiting a season may prevent your home from languishing on the market. Talk to your Realtor about market trends in your area.

4. Stay current on planning and zoning news

Keep tabs on upcoming public projects that could impact the timing of your sale. Is major road construction planned that may deter buyers? An agent can discuss selling strategies to work around issues.

5. Get the scoop on your hood from an expert

A Realtor familiar with your unique market can put it all in perspective if you’re considering a sale. Find an agent here.

May Housing Report

With the 2016 home-buying season just starting, April sales saw a 7.5% increase over March and a 3.2% rise over April last year, which nearly matches the average year-over-year sales increase of 4.3% so far in 2016. The Median Sales Price in April was $215,000, which was 5.4% higher than one year ago and 7.5% above the median price in March. The inventory of homes for sale remains very tight in many markets across the country, with the April inventory 15.2% lower than April 2015. At the rate of home sales in April, the national Months Supply of Inventory was 3.2, down from 3.7 in March.

The May 2016 Housing Report infograph can be found here.

RE/MAX All-Pro Open House Showcase

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Don’t forget to come out to our Open House Showcase this Sunday! 17 homes will be shown, with more than a dozen of our agents hosting!

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