It’s one of the skills a successful local rental property investor needs to cultivate: if or when to sell. With property prices on the rise, some Evansville landlords may in fact be asking themselves whether now is the time to cash in. Especially for most everyone whose rental property investment was made during the last few years, it’s already been a profitable gambit. According to the Case Schiller Index, by last year’s close, property prices across the nation had risen at the fastest rate in the previous nine years.
But if—and then when—to sell a rental property can be a tough call. As a relatively illiquid investment, it takes a great deal more commitment than the decision to sell a stock or cash in a bond. But sometimes there are circumstances that can make the decision a little easier. For instance:
One clear reason why you might choose to sell is if the rental property is losing money. The rental may have been vacant for too long, or the rent level may not have been sufficient to cover expenses. In many cases, other real estate investors will be willing to lose money in the short term on a property they believe will appreciate in the future. It’s also possible that a full-time rental property professional may be able to tap economies of scale that are not possible for every individual investor.
Your rental property may be doing fine—making money and showing substantial value growth—but now an unusually promising alternative investment has appeared. With the strong spring market, it may make sense to sell now to reinvest the profits elsewhere.
Everyone’s tax situation is different, and the tax environment is subject to change. Even if that weren’t the case, there are some years when personal finances mean that a sale would be a much better idea than others. As with any substantial financial decision, your accountant or other financial advisor will have the relevant input.
Being a landlord is not for everyone. Sometimes a professional property manager can alleviate nearly all the stress for an investor who doesn’t relish the vocation, but even then, there can be other chores: bookkeeping, manager management, a leak-through of tenant personality issues…that prompt a landlord to decide he or she would rather direct energy elsewhere. Opting for more passive forms of investment is always a possibility.
Our area has already benefitted from some of the fruits of the national real estate recovery – but that alone doesn’t answer whether this spring is an opportune time for you to consider selling your area rental property. We currently face a shortage of listings and there are many buyers and investors in the market. Call me today for a comprehensive property evaluation—the key piece of information that will help you decide! You can reach me on my cell phone
812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
With spring in the air, you don’t have to have your home for sale to catch the spring cleaning bug. Whether or not you’ve been cooped up inside for a longer-than-usual siege of the wintertime blues, as soon as the weather turns the corner, there seems to be a natural urge to open the windows and start freshening your place up.
Spring also brings the traditional hot selling season, and if you’re among those getting ready to list your own home for sale to take advantage of it, you’ll want to add extra attention to the traditional cleanup. Home for sale or not, you can channel some of your annual sprucing-up energy with one of these light renovation ideas. Each can add new zest to your living areas without breaking the bank:
- If you want to liven up your kitchen or bathroom but don’t want to shell out for the full cost of replacing the cabinets or doors, consider what simply changing the hardware would do. Take a trip to the hardware department, pick out a sample knob or pull, then test what the change would look like. Sometimes this simple transformation adds a surprising degree of sparkle!
- If your lighting fixtures are looking a bit dated and dingy, one simple fix is to buy new lampshades. Replacing a whole lamp is expensive and often unnecessary—and new shades can make a much more resounding impact, anyway. If you are planning to put your home for sale on the market anytime soon, best opt for white or cream. Keeping the look bright yet neutral gives you a proven selling advantage.
- In any room where years of wear and tear have created smudges that no amount of elbow grease can remove, think about painting with a change of color. It may be a bit more ambitious and costly, but whether you hire pros or do it yourself, the result can make you feel like you’re in a whole new home. As with the lampshade selection, resist the temptation to get overly exuberant and creative: choose neutral color combinations.
- If new furniture is not yet called for (or beyond this year’s budget), consider calling in the pros for some upholstery cleaning; then adding new accent pillows. If your existing pillows are in good shape, sometimes just a few new pillow covers can freshen up a room’s whole look. Designers sometimes recommend picking just one bright color and keeping with it throughout the house.
You don’t have to be planning to list your home for sale in Evansville to make 2014’s spring cleaning efforts a self-satisfying success. And if you’re planning to list, I have a host of other preparation tips…and a marketing plan designed to bring top results! You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Market Watch April 2014
Winter is over. Spring has arrived. For real estate specifically it has been a rough few months. The big question is what happens now? Although 2013 was a fabulous year in our market, the market really slowed at the end of October. The market did not compare favorably to the preceding year’s sales figures over the winter months. This was not just a local phenomenon but was consistent on both a national and statewide level. Nationally pending sales have declined for 6 of the past 7 months when compared to the preceding year. Statewide the story is similar. In February alone pended contracts were down 11.7% and closed transactions declined 13.1% compared to February of last year.
I believe that there were two primary reasons for our winter malaise. The first obvious reason was that winter nationwide was bitter cold and snowy. Clearly real estate is seasonal to some degree but extreme temperatures clearly hampered sales. I know in our area many buyers are not inspired to drive around town traipsing through the slush to look for their new dream home. The second reason which I have mentioned in previous letters is low inventory levels. We simply do not have as many homes listed as we have historically had.
So what happens next? Now that spring has arrived, weather is no longer an impediment, and that alone will contribute to increased sales. Secondly, sellers who have been contemplating listing their homes will begin to put more homes on the market. Another positive factor is that when the market slows there are always some potential buyers who delay, but don’t cancel their plans, creating some pent up demand.
I have already seen evidence of this around my office. My associates have been busier and we have seen several examples of multiple offers on some properties. In addition sales prices, even when the number of homes sold was declining, have continued to increase. I am confident that we will see increased sales activity over the next few months.
The first piece of advice I would pass along is that if you have been considering selling your home, get it on the market now so you don’t miss buyers who are starting to look. The second piece of advice is to make your search as easy as possible by searching first at FCTuckerEmge.com. The temperature is always 72 when you are at your computer and we have the easiest search on the web. You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Right at the start of the year, Google announced a surprising move. It said it was purchasing a home appliance maker most of us had never even heard of…for $3.2 billion in cash! It was a gambit that every homeowner should note, because it signals where some very smart money is headed: right where we live!
Remember, Google isn’t just famous for its search engine; it’s also frequently in the news for its forays into any number of futuristic enterprises (those mysterious barges, for instance). The appliance maker that now has Google’s billions in its pocket is called Nest Labs, Inc. Nest makes smart devices that reinvent the traditional ones every homeowner has to deal with, like thermostats and smoke detectors. “Unloved but important devices” was how the press announcement put it.
The unique feature of Nest’s products is that they collect “user behavior” data (i.e., homeowner actions) in order to provide a more tailored response. Google CEO Larry Page explained, “They’re already delivering amazing products you can buy right now–thermostats that save energy and smoke/CO alarms that can help keep your family safe.”
The move of Google into the realm of smarter homes is part of a broader trend. In the most recent American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey, there was a dramatic increase in the use of technology solutions in the home. The survey noted an increase in requests for entertainment, security and energy management systems. Energy management systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated as households are given the ability to manage their lighting and temperature over a wireless network. As electronic cars become more prevalent, electronic docking systems in the garage may also become commonplace.
How does this affect the average Evansville homeowner? As the minimum price of these systems decline, automated homes will eventually become the norm. If today it costs around $2500 to automate your home, it’s all but inevitable that similar features will fall in price (and grow in sophistication). Then, when it comes to buying a home or listing your own for sale, the amount of smart automation is bound to become a key selling point—trust Google!
The ability to operate and manage your house from a wireless devices such as your smartphone or laptop is already here…and Nest’s learning technology signals a future where our home and appliances are able to learn from our behavior and predict our needs. Keeping an eye on the future is a good idea for any homeowner, especially when you’re thinking of replacing one of those “unloved but important” devices— and most especially when you’re contemplating listing your home anytime soon. If that’s in your future, why not give me a call? As Google is in the habit of demonstrating, it’s never too soon to prepare for the future! You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
It just might be that a groundswell is spreading throughout the home-buying public. In Evansville, smaller houses that used to be difficult to sell are rising in popularity, and I can guess why.
First, a little history. Back in 1950, what we would consider smaller houses were the rule: the average square footage came in at just 983 (try to imagine the ‘average’ family with 2 kids, 2 adults and Lassie all shoehorned in there!). By 2006, that figure had blown up to 2,248 square feet—and we all know about the bigger McMansions—just in time for the financial meltdown. Within the next few years, for the first time ever, the upsizing trend had begun to reverse. Only three years later, average square footage was 2,135.
In terms of size, today’s buyers and sellers are meeting in a much more balanced market. Smaller houses are no longer automatically spurned. In fact, smaller houses are the first choice for a growing number of buyers. Why?
When you really analyze it, a surprising amount of housing space is seldom used. Lifestyle changes dictate that formal dining and living rooms are much less frequently occupied. And it’s a fact that we only use a small percentage of the things that we own, so in actuality, some of many homes’ area amount to extremely high-end storage space. By getting rid of some of that unused stuff, the space it takes up can become unneeded.
The old rule of thumb nationally is that property taxes average about 1% of the value of a home. Smaller houses mean lower tax bills.
Maintenance bills can be substantially lower in smaller houses. It varies greatly by age and style, but one estimate has it that annual maintenance bills usually run between 1%-3% of total value.
Whether your hire help or handle it yourself, a smaller home can be much faster to clean. This may be less true when clutter is allowed to take over, but for those who are vigilant clutter-clearers, it means freeing more time for doing the things that you love. If you are paying someone else clean your home, it can easily equate to significant savings over the course of a year.
According to the American Psychology Association, money is the largest single contributor to stress. Nearly three-quarters of Americans admit that financial problems are their biggest source of stress. Purchasing a smaller house with an accompanying smaller mortgage can directly translate into a mellower quality of life.
A smaller house may not be for everyone, but today’s buyers are considering the advantages with a much more open minds. If you are giving some serious thought to buying or selling a home, let’s talk about the wide range of possibilities on the local market today. We are experiencing very low inventories right now. This plays out to the advantage of sellers. You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Veteran housing economist David Berson, formerly of Fannie Mae and PMI Group, shares his thoughts on what the public needs to know about the housing market this year.
First, he predicts that 2014 will be the strongest year for housing activity since prior to the recession. Most economists expect an improved job market in the months ahead, with employment growth accelerating and the jobless rate continuing to fall. This will be the key factor improving housing demand in 2014, even if mortgage rates climb and affordability declines.
Additionally, demographics should start to favor housing activity. To this end, the demographic factor most affecting the residential property sector is household formation. “Household formations are affected by the job market, as people ‘double-up’ when worried about their job and income-earning prospects,” Berson writes. “The Great Recession and the modest job recovery in the years following induced many people who might have lived independently to move in together.”
Berson and colleagues estimate the economy is short by more than 3 million households. If the economy expands at a faster clip in 2014, bringing a more rapid rate of job creation, that should translate into more households, which in turn should raise housing demand.
Finally, Berson says mortgage availability should not worsen between now and the end of December and may actually expand.