Shawn Burgess | Dorchester Real Estate, Roxbury Real Estate, Mattapan Real Estate


Photo by Paul McGowan via Pixabay

Already a homeowner? Planning to sell in a few years? Sometimes the most sensible investment on the table is the property you already own.

Why Invest In Your Own Property?

Some investors think of each residence as a sort of long-term flip: buy a home, live in it for a couple of years to avoid capital gains tax, improve it as they have the capital and inclination, and turn it around for a profit when they're ready, usually 3-4 years later. And for a huge number of millennials, moving every few years has become de rigeur: occupy a home for a few years, then follow the job market wherever it takes them. Today's young professionals are often on the move.

Whether the long-term flip lifestyle appeals to you or not, it makes sense to improve your home's value as much as possible while living there--especially if you're looking to sell in the next few years. 

Fix What's Broken 

Step 1 is the least appealing item on our list, but it's probably the most important. Before you renovate the kitchen, install crown molding or hire a landscaper to work their magic on the yard, you need to fix what's broken.

Hit it all in this step--both large things and small. Make sure your electrical systems are up to code. Non-GFCI outlets in the kitchen or bathrooms? Replace them now. Gutters falling apart? Take care of it. Water heater has just about the same capacity as your kitchen sink? Replace it. Basement drainage issues? Fix them. Make a checklist of known issues, both big and small, and work through them. Your family will thank you, and your future self will thank you. 

Consult Professionals 

This is where it comes in handy to have a home inspector on your Christmas card list, but it's not necessary. If you live in an older home and/or don't have much experience with home repairs, consider paying a home inspector to come in to do a walk-through and give you advice on things that need to be addressed.

A home inspector will be able to tell you what could become an issue during the inspection process once you have an offer on your home. You might not choose to address everything on their list, but you'll have an idea of a place to start--and an idea of the most pressing issues you're dealing with. 

 

Don't Over-Invest

Before pouring your money into upgrades, make sure you know that cap rate for the homes in your neighborhood. There's a point where upgrades just stop paying off, and you don't want to exceed it. Instead, look at comparable homes on the market on your street or in your neighborhood. Go to a few open houses, even. Get a feel for the minimum standards that these homes meets.

Hit the Minimum Standards for Your Area

In some neighborhoods, a dirt yard is totally normal and not necessarily worth improving (unless you just want to). In other neighborhoods, you'll be expected to have sleek new stainless steel appliances at a minimum. This is a great starting point. Bring your home up to or just above minimum standards, because that's what buyers will expect. 

Kitchens, Bathrooms, Flooring & Paint 

As you've probably heard, investing in the kitchen and bathrooms almost always pays off. It probably goes without saying, but if you're planning to sell soon, don't invest in personal-preference renos--like rearranging the kitchen (unless it's a major dysfunctional problem) or building in a new fireplace. Instead, update/upgrade what's already there. Upgrades that can make a huge difference include: 

  • Having cabinets painted/refinished and hardware updated
  • Reglazing kitchen or bathroom tile to bring its look into the present century 
  • Replacing flooring with the standard for your neighborhood
  • Finishing a partially-finished basement or loft space 

Throughout the upgrade process, keep the style neutral to appeal to the widest variety of homebuyers. Love bold wall colors? That's fine, but unless you live in a remarkably artsy, hipster neighborhood, plan to paint a toned-down gray or beige before you put your home on the market.

If you're on the fence about paint and flooring, those are projects that can be put off until right before you move out. They're also the two most powerful ways to transform your home's aesthetic. 

Obviously the changes you make will have everything to do with the projected sale price--and the caps for your neighborhood. All improvements should take this into consideration, and you'll be off to the races when you decide it's time to put your home on the market. 


Photo by Doubletree Studio via Shutterstock

Interest rates rise in correlation to inflation and other economic activity. When that happens, it can increase housing costs. But the question is, should it prompt you to buy sooner than you’re ready?

The Right Time Is Now

In real estate, the right time is always now for someone. Is it the right time for you? There’s more to determine than interest rates. 

Here’s how to break it down:

  • Rising interest rates: as interest rises, even a quarter of a point increase can add more than $10,000 to a two hundred-thousand-dollar mortgage. If you can lock in the lower rate, you’ll save nearly thirty dollars each month over the life of the loan.
  • Rising housing prices: In addition to the increase in interest rates, as housing prices trend upward, the combination can push you out of contention for certain homes. If you’re on the fence about buying but know where you want to live and what you want to pay, what you know now is more useful than speculating on what might be later.
  • Changes in the tax laws: Recent changes mean that writing off interest is limited, but your standard deduction probably offsets it. Work with your tax advisor to see if a mortgage improves your tax situation, remains neutral, or increases your outgo.
  • Down payment savings: As prices go up, the amount you need for a down payment goes up too. If you currently have the cash you need to lock in the home you want, you might not want to wait.
  • Know your expenses: Buying a house locks you in for the life of the loan or until you sell it. So, if you’re in need of a new car, or have another large expense coming down the pike, calculate it into your monthly budget what you’ll need to handle those expenses as well as your mortgage payment. Avoid stretching yourself so thin that your house payment becomes a burden.
  • Review your employment stability. Is there a chance you’ll move away? Change jobs? Retire? Many of the benefits of homeownership come after the first five or six years when you’ve mostly recovered the closing costs with the rising equity. If your intention is to move sooner than that, consider buying now with the intention to turn the property into a rental, or wait until you’re more settled in your location.

The bottom line is that it’s your bottom line that matters. Just because interest rates rise doesn’t mean you should jump into ownership before you’re ready. But don’t let it stop you either. Discuss your plans with your real estate professional. They have a finger on the pulse of the market to help you time when a purchase is right for you.


This Single-Family in Brockton, MA recently sold for $329,900. This Cape style home was sold by Burgess Realty Group LLC - Burgess Realty Group LLC.


32 Breer Cir, Brockton, MA 02301

Single-Family

$329,000
Price
$329,900
Sale Price

6
Rooms
3
Beds
1
Baths
Wonderful West Side 3-4 bedroom home nestled along a circular street and situated on a spacious fenced lot. The first level offers a living room with wood burning fireplace, formal dining room, spacious eat-in kitchen, and a main level bedroom. Large sun-room with a sliding door that overlooks the backyard green-space. Second level offers two generous-sized bedrooms with ample closet space and a bonus room that could be used as walk in closet/office/crafts room or potential bath. Partially finished basement with laundry room and space for workshop. Updated kitchen, baths and heating system. Prime location close to BHS, fairgrounds, shopping amenities, public transportation, and highway access to RT-24.

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Photo by Arek Socha via Pixabay 

In a bid to afford homes in high-value areas, many homeowners turn to income from short-term rentals to cover a high mortgage payment. You can benefit from this option with some caveats:

  • Location really matters. A lot. You might advertise your home as near the coast when it’s really 20 miles inland and get a few bites. But eventually, the reviews catch up with you, and you lose out. Be honest about where your rental sits. Market what is available: access to public transportation, quiet parks, sports arenas, theme parks, etc. only if they truly are accessible.
  • Consider hosting rather than leaving your home to strangers. That means you stay on the property while they are there. You’re in control of who comes and goes. Your renters can’t sneak in a dozen of their buddies without paying for them.
  • Make sure your HOA and municipality allow it. Many homeowners associations explicitly forbid subletting or short-term rentals, so if that’s your plan, read those pesky covenants, conditions and restrictions (CCR’s) before you buy. Municipalities also have codes regarding hospitality properties. Many require licenses, permits or fees, and some require occupancy taxes on the nights guests rent your home.
  • Your homeowners’ insurance coverage may not protect you from damage or liability when you’re using your home as a business. Talk to your insurance agent before you post your home online and pay the extra premiums to make certain you’re covered.

Before you decide to turn your home into a short-term rental, know the rules and the risks or the rewards may not be worth the trouble. Your real estate professional is your best resource for discovering properties in your area suitable for a short-term rental, so make that phone call today.


This Multi-Family in Boston, MA recently sold for $675,000. This style home was sold by Burgess Realty Group LLC - Burgess Realty Group LLC.


15-17 Halborn St, Boston, MA 02126

Multi-Family

$639,900
Price
$675,000
Sale Price

2
Units
2,392
Approx. GLA
Finally!!! Updated 2 Family on a nice street with many updates. Both units have large eat-in kitchens and laundry hook-ups in the basement. Newer roof, heating systems and electrical. This home has 2 separate driveways with a nice back yard area for those summer/fall outdoor gatherings. Close to the commuter rail and local shopping. Can be sold individually or with sister home (MLS# 72578898 ) directly next door. Come see this great home before it's gone. First Open House, Saturday October 12th from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm.

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