George P. Goulas - KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY | 508-509-3833 | GGoulas@kw.com


Posted by George P. Goulas on 1/20/2021

Photo by Free-Photos via Pixabay

For some, house hacking is the key to getting started in real estate; for others, it's just a smart way to build cash flow into an otherwise uncooperative rental market. Wondering how to get your foot in the door? Here's what you need to know. 

What is House Hacking? 

The term "house hacking" was coined by Bigger Pockets, but in general, the practice has been going on for as long as people have been owning and renting properties. House hacking refers to renting out a part of your primary residence. Generally, that means owning a duplex, triplex, or quadruplex, living in one unit, and renting out the rest. For some, it means renting out one or more rooms of a single-family residence. In an ideal scenario, house hackers can essentially live for free--allowing the rental income from the space they rent out to pay for the mortgage and maintenance of the entire property. 

Why is House Hacking a Smart First Investment? 

As with any investment, the viability of house hacking depends on the market in your area. But for many who want to get into real estate investing but haven't yet taken the plunge, it's a smart step. 

  • Owner-occupants enjoy the best financing terms. When you plan to use the property as your principal residence, you'll get lower down payments (as low as 0-5%, in the case of VA and FHA loans) and lower interest rates. 
  • House hacking serves as training for managing more tenants. Because you'll be living in close proximity to your tenants, it will be easier to keep an eye on your property and address repairs and other issues as they arise. It's a great way to earn a few notches in your landlord belt before purchasing more rental properties in the future. 
  • When you decide to move out, you can rent out the final unit (or the primary house) and enjoy the full benefits of positive cash flow thanks to your low-interest-rate home. 

An Accessible Way to Start Small 

Step one: talk to a lender. If you can get pre-approved for a single family residence, you can get pre-approved for a duplex (or larger).

Already own a home? Consider renting out an extra bedroom, or finishing the basement to rent out as an ADU. And even if you don't net massive positive cash flow at first, you'll massively offset your own cost of living, while gaining valuable experience as an investor and property manager. 




Tags: Real Estate   Investing   Beginner  
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Posted by George P. Goulas on 1/13/2021

The entryway to your home is probably quite small, but you can make the most of your space by pinning down what you really need there. Below, youíll find some items that you should try and keep around the entry of your home for both design appeal and organization purposes. 


A Place For Coats


When guests come to visit, itís welcoming for you to be able to offer them a place to hang their coats, rather than throwing them into a bedroom or on a chair. You can place coatracks on a wall for easy hanging, giving everyone open access to their coats when they need them. You can even place a coat rack along a stairway hall. This way everything from coats to bags to hats will all be in one place.     



Rugs


Having a weather-resistant rug available in the entryway of your home can help to keep dirt and grime off of the floor. 


Storage


Every entryway needs some type of storage for items like extra coats, shoes, umbrellas, even bags. You can use an inexpensive shelving system or go as fancy as using a dresser or armoire.


Seating


Itís important to have some kind of seating near the entryway of your home. This way, youíll have a place to sit down and put on shoes. Seating will also help make the entryway more comfortable. Make sure that the seating allows for a casual feel to add to the warmth of the welcome.


Flowers And Plants


Using flowers and plants in the entryway of your home gives guests that welcoming pop of color that will brighten their day. Itís one of the first things that guests will see when they walk up to the front door of your home, so youíll want to make a good first impression. Shoot for year-round plants that donít require a lot of maintenance and can be kept up easily no matter what the season.    


Good Lighting


Once you enter your home in the evening hours, one of the first things you want to do is turn on a light. This is one of the best features for your home to have safety and security when you enter and exit the house. You can choose any kind of light fixture that you want to accent your home in order to bring out the beauty. The only requirement is that you should make sure a light switch is always within an armís reach.


Make It Your Own


The most important thing that you can do for your entryway is to make it your own. You can add any kind of accents and features that you choose. The entryway is the first impression that people will get of your home, so make it count!




Tags: decorating   house a home  
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Posted by George P. Goulas on 1/6/2021

The decision to buy a house may be one of the biggest choices that you make in your lifetime. As such, a potential home purchase should be fully evaluated to ensure you can achieve the best-possible results during the homebuying journey.

Furthermore, it may be beneficial to discuss your homebuying plans with family members, friends and other loved ones. There are many reasons why you may want to share your homebuying plans with loved ones, and these reasons include:

1. You can gain homebuying insights that you might struggle to obtain elsewhere.

Loved ones frequently are happy to share their homebuying insights with you. Thus, if you keep loved ones up to date about your homebuying plans, you may be able to gain comprehensive real estate insights that you won't find anywhere else.

Let's not forget about the past homebuying experiences of loved ones, either. If a loved one had a positive or negative homebuying experience, you may be able to learn lessons from this event that could help you navigate the homebuying journey.

2. You can look at the big picture.

Oftentimes, the temptation to rush through the homebuying process can be overwhelming, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. If you consult with loved ones, however, you can slow down and look at the big picture as you prepare to pursue your dream residence.

Loved ones are unafraid to be honest, especially when it comes to a life-changing decision like buying a house. Therefore, if you reach out to loved ones before you enter the housing market, you can assess your short- and long-term plans and map out your homebuying journey accordingly.

3. You can get the help you need to succeed.

No one should be forced to pursue a house on their own. Lucky for you, loved ones are available who can help you discover your ideal residence in no time at all.

Sharing your homebuying plans with loved ones may enable you to get plenty of support throughout the homebuying journey. Plus, if you ever have concerns or questions as you pursue your dream house, loved ones are ready to assist you in any way possible.

As you prepare to embark on a home search, you may want to consult with a real estate agent too. In fact, a real estate agent will ensure you can enjoy a seamless homebuying experience, regardless of where you want to live.

Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you informed about new residences as they become available and help you submit offers on houses. This housing market professional also will negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf, guaranteeing that you can get the best price on any home, at any time.

Ready to kick off a successful home search? Connect with loved ones Ė and a real estate agent Ė and you can get the assistance that you need to find your dream house.




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Posted by George P. Goulas on 12/23/2020

Enjoying a seamless home buying journey may seem virtually impossible, particularly for a first-time property buyer. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to boost the likelihood of quickly and easily finding your dream house, such as:

1. Hone Your Home Search

Consider where you want to reside and the features you want to find in your ideal residence. That way, you can hone your house search accordingly.

As you review potential home destinations, consider your short- and long-term goals. For instance, if you want to work in a big city, you may want to search for houses in or near a city that matches your expectations. Or, if you intend to start a family soon, you may want to pursue homes near parks and other family-friendly attractions.

Furthermore, make a list of home features you want to discover in your dream house. With this list in hand, you can focus on finding a home that you can enjoy for years to come.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A mortgage usually is a must-have for a homebuyer. If you enter the real estate market with a mortgage in hand, you could speed up your house search.

Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. This will allow you to learn about myriad mortgage options.

In addition, don't hesitate to ask mortgage questions. A mortgage sometimes is confusing, and as such, it helps to get plenty of information about a mortgage before you start a house search. If you consult with mortgage specialists at banks and credit unions, you can gain the insights you need to make an informed mortgage selection.

3. Establish Realistic Expectations

Although you likely want to find your dream residence as quickly as possible, it is important to remember that the home buying journey often has ebbs and flows. If you establish realistic home buying expectations, you can avoid potential disappointments as you search for your ideal residence.

Sometimes, it helps to consider the worst-case home buying scenarios. If you plan ahead for these situations, you can determine the steps you will need to take to avoid them altogether.

You may want to collaborate with family members and friends during your home search as well. With loved ones at your side, you can receive plenty of support and guidance as you conduct a home search. Plus, your loved ones can help you keep things in perspective, even if the home buying journey becomes stressful.

When it comes to finding and buying a home, you may want to employ a real estate agent, too. A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the home buying journey. They will learn about you and your home buying goals, and help you plan properly. Thus, a real estate agent can provide you with the support you need to enjoy a seamless home buying journey.

Ready to conduct a successful home search? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can navigate the home buying journey like a pro and quickly discover your dream home.




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Posted by George P. Goulas on 12/16/2020

Photo by Mohamed Hassan via Pixabay

Itís part of the American DNA to want to own a home. It can be your immense joy or become a nightmare if you donít avoid some of these first-time buyer lapses in judgment.

What to Avoid

  • Overbuying. The mantra used to be ďbuy the biggest house you can afford.Ē After all isnít bigger always better? The challenge is that affordability is subjective. If youíve never owned a home, you donít know the intangible costs. A bigger house has more space to live, but it also has more space to heat and cool. A large yard is fantastic for the kids, but it comes with landscaping and maintenance responsibilities. Go big if you like, but do it with your eyes wide open. Ask your agent to help you determine ongoing costs for the homes you visit in your quest.
  • Buying just to buy. Yes, that down payment is burning a hole in your virtual pocket. You want it invested in property so that you can get on with the business of living. But unless you have a time-restriction on funds that need reinvesting, take your time to get what, and more importantly, where you really want. Visit neighborhoods during the day on different days, in the evening and on weekends. Drive around the nearby streets too. This will help you get more of a feel for the overall area.
  • Becoming emotionally attached to a home you donít yet own. When youíre shopping for a home, itís easy to find ďTHE ONEĒ that checks all your boxes ó except the budget box, or the timeline box, or the practicality box. When home stagersí do their job well, youíre guaranteed to have an emotional reaction to a house. Their entire goal is to trigger your emotions so that you ďhave to haveĒ that house. But emotions can be fickle. What you love today in this house could be the thing you despise in 10 years of living there. Itís essential that you spend time with your buyerís agent to determine the non-negotiables you want for your new home.
  • Entering a bidding war. When you have unlimited funds, perhaps you can afford to pay more for a home than the market price. But lenders limit the size of a mortgage based on a lot of factors you may not be aware of in the housing market. Just because the price of a house goes up doesnít mean you can get a loan to cover the full difference between what you pay and what the market says itís worth.

Most of all, donít buy without representation. Your expert buyerís agent knows all the ins and outs of the local market and can steer you clear of pitfalls, potholes, and potentially poor choices. They negotiate on your behalf and represent your (not the sellerís) interest in those negotiations. Rely on them to show you homes that fit your list and check your boxes without breaking the bank or putting you in an overstretched situation.




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