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Matthews NC Real Estate and Homes

Matthews, North Carolina has a population of 22,000 and Matthews properties are located a short ten miles from downtown Charlotte. The pleasant suburb has a median household income of $67,000 living in primarily low-density single-family homes. This translates into ample opportunities for homeowners to landscape their Matthews properties with the lovely variety of native flora available in this area. The residential sections are committed to beautification and improvement of the surroundings in Matthews, North Carolina.

The town is equally dedicated to the “greening” of Matthews real estate. There are Community Gardens where residents volunteer to plant and tend 100 to 150 square feet of soil with flowers and vegetables. This practice is a new endeavor with a long history dating back through time in communities around the globe. This is representative of the community spirit of the residents in Matthews homes. One specific residence among Matthews homes is the Reid House. This property is unique in that it is one of the very few Victorian Queen Anne homes in the whole county. With its gingerbread porch woodwork, rounded turret and 12-foot ceilings, this restored beauty will be a stop on your visit with a Matthews Realtor.

 

Along with these gardens, the Arbor Day Foundation has named the town “Tree Town USA” for nine years running. This honor is bestowed to cities that dedicate funds and efforts toward the planting and maintaining of all trees within its borders. Originally a cotton farming community, almost all the native trees were cut in preparation for growing fields of cotton. This resulted in Matthews real estate being given the inglorious historic name of Stumptown. In reparation for the past practices the town is on a quest to repopulate the flora. Matthews, NC real estate reflects these efforts as you travel about town.

 

When considering Matthews homes for sale, be aware of the numerous employment opportunities located in the town of Matthews, NC. The headquarters for Family Dollar and Harris Teeter grocers are among the Matthews listings of business and industry. Also, Charlotte is right down the road if you do not mind a 15-minute commute. The school system is part of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg system and is rated among the highest quality in the state of North Carolina. This lovely town has a unique sense of community that will welcome you and embrace you if you choose to make Matthews, North Carolina your next relocation destination.

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Albemarle NC Real Estate and Homes

Albemarle is located in Stanly County, North Carolina and hosts the county seat. It has a population of about 16,000 people, spread over an area of slightly less than 16 square miles creating a density of approximately 1,000 people per square mile. Originally settled by tribes of Mound Builders, the area is rich in archeological history dating back 10,000 years or more. More recent history shows that the current population of Albemarle consists of many descendants of German, Dutch and Scotch-Irish heritage. Of its many assets, Albemarle, NC properties boast a number of natural and recreational sites.

One such recreation site included in the Albemarle listings of recreational resources is the first public park created in the town. Built in the late 1930’s, Rock Creek Park is located on Highway 52 South. Since that time, the park has expanded its facilities to include an athletic field, three tennis courts, two bocce courts, a walking trail and picnic area. In addition, the park serves as host to a Challenge program consisting of an obstacle course complete with rappelling tower for the adventurous minded. The Rock Creek Park is conveniently located near many Albemarle homes and is an added feature for Albemarle, NC homes for sale in the area.

 

Other significant Albemarle, North Carolina real estate includes the Albemarle Soccer Complex, Morehead Park, Ingram Park, Montgomery Park and the City Lake Park. The 100-acre lake within this park provides a variety of recreational and gathering opportunities. Fishing is permitted in the lake and tackle can be checked out at the park office. In addition, a number of meeting places are available with reservations for weddings, family reunions, picnics and other special events. And for water enthusiasts, the lake amenities include two boat docks. The park has approximately 75 acres of land for public use.

 

As is the case with many towns in this North Carolina area, the early economic development of Albemarle was widely based on agriculture. When the country began to industrialize, the textile industry provided jobs for residents of the town. The manufacture of textiles is still very much a part of the local economy, but the Albemarle of today is much more diverse with a multitude of manufacturers operating plants in the town. Within Albemarle you will find the production and manufacturing of carpet, cable, knitting fabrics, manufactured homes and metal components among others. Retail stores also employ a number of workers in the town.

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Fort Mill SC and Charlotte NC Real Estate and Homes

Nestled in the northern-most reaches of South Carolina, the municipality of Fort Mill, South Carolina has a population of 9,400 in a township of 35,000. Fort Mill, SC properties have witnessed significant events in the history of the country. The last meeting of the Confederate Government Cabinet was held here in 1865. Also, Fort Mill’s Confederate Park is the site for the only monuments honoring slaves who fought in the Civil War. Also, Fort Mill, South Carolina real estate has provided residence for WWI flying ace, Elliott White Springs who is a South Carolina Hall of Famer.

When on the hunt for Fort Mill, SC homes for sale consider that the educational system of the area is rated among the highest in the state. There are numerous family activities in the community including three parks with recreational equipment and festivals to attend. The climate is friendly year-round with an average in the 90’s for the summers and in the 50’s for the winter. The average median income is $42,400 making the Fort Mill, SC homes for sales very affordable. The town is also in the process of annexation that will provide many new opportunities in Fort Mill, South Carolina.

 

If sports are your fancy, the Charlotte Knights, a AAA Chicago White Sox farm team, make Fort Mill their home. Other Fort Mill, SC listings will place you near the town’s famous Greenways. The Anne Springs Close Greenway is an amazing 2,300 acres of protected forests, sparkling lakes and gently rolling hills. Full of the diversity of trees and wildflowers, furry animals and birds, this retreat is a jewel for the town. You will spend countless days making memories with your family in these wondrous surroundings. These dedicated natural zones add privacy and attractiveness to the Fort Mill, SC homes and properties.

 

With historic growth that was spurred by the textile industry of the late 1800’s, Fort Mill, South Carolina continues to experience growth due to it proximity to metropolitan areas of Charlotte, NC. If the hustle and bustle of urban life is not for you, contact a Fort Mill, SC Realtor to experience the quality of small town living. Fort Mill, SC listings are excellent destinations for those who must work in the city but choose to live in a peaceful and safe environment. Historic homes abound, as do modern stylish constructions sure to fit every taste.

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Selling a House in a Buyer’s Market: Getting the Best Price for One’s Home

In today’s housing market, selling a home for a decent price isn’t easy. Since the housing bubble burst, prices for homes, both new and existing, have been in a tailspin. In fact, according to a report released by Demographia, from July 2014 to January 2015, the national median house value decreased by twenty-nine percent; and “this loss, over a 2.5 year period, is comparable to the Great Depression house value loss of twenty-seven percent over a four year period.”

As things stand, the outlook for the near future is far from promising since economists foresee still more homeowners facing foreclosure as the result of toxic loans, resulting in a continued decline in property values. So, the question is, what can homeowners do to help ensure they receive top dollar for their homes when there are so many bottom-dollar houses for sale?

Price It Right

According to David Hemenway, a realtor in Cottage Grove, Oregon, who’s been in the business since 1968, starting too high is the worst thing a seller can do (Max) And why is this the case? Hemenway says it’s because the greatest opportunity to sell one’s house is “immediately after it goes on the market,” since that’s when the majority of serious buyers will see it (Max). Moreover, even if sellers lower the price to reflect the market, they will have fewer people coming through than if they had priced it right to begin with (Max).

Use Elbow Grease

Scrub the house until it glistens. Wash windows inside and out, remove pet and coffee stains from carpets, wax floors, scour bathrooms, dust ceiling fans and baseboards, clean electrical plates, scrub appliances, and polish mirrors and doorknobs. In other words, sellers should complete all those tedious chores they’ve been putting off until another day, either that, or hire a cleaning service. The important thing is that a clean house makes a far better impression than a pigsty.

Clear Out Clutter

Clutter makes a house look smaller, as well as dingy. So, take one room at a time and purge it of clutter. This doesn’t mean a seller has to throw away that hideous lava lamp he’s been saving for sentimental purposes, but he should at least put it in storage. Remember, when potential buyers enter a home, they want to envision themselves living there, which is next to impossible if the rooms are filled with stuff to remind them it’s someone else’s home.


Repair, Repair, Repair

Mend or replace tattered screens; replace cracked bathroom grout; repair loose cabinet knobs and drawer pulls; fix leaking faucets; replace burned out light bulbs; patch holes, including nail holes, in the walls (preferably before painting); repair broken steps (inside and out); and replace or remove torn and/or faded wallpaper. In other words, if something is worn out, damaged, or broken, fix it; and if it cannot be fixed, replace it.

Paint the Walls

It is amazing what a coat of paint will do for the interior and exterior of a house. It makes everything look new and fresh. Even if the paint job is recent, however, if the walls are colors that may not appeal to everyone, paint them a neutral color, preferably within the cream or beige family. Stark white is, well, too stark, whereas soft creams and beiges make rooms look more spacious. Plus, it’s much easier for potential buyers to picture their things against a neutral canvas than against one that’s chartreuse, burgundy, or cobalt.

Create Curb Appeal

Take a long, unbiased look at the outside of the house. Does the grass need mowing? Are the flowerbeds more weeds than flowers? Are toys strewn hither, thither, and yond? Have the neighbors’ cats and dogs used the lawn as a litter box? If the answer is “yes,” then cut the grass, pick up the toys, weed the flowerbeds, and scare away the neighbors’ pets.

Another way to enhance curb appeal is by practicing the teachings of the ancient art of Feng Shui; for example, place large attractive flowerpots containing healthy, colorful plants on each side of the main entranceway. Paint the front door a dramatic, vibrant color, for example, deep red, dark charcoal, or rich chocolate.

Turn on the Lights

When showing the home, open the drapes, blinds, and curtains, but also turn on the lights. The more light the better because light makes rooms look larger, as well as airy. Remember, no one wants to live in the dark, well, that is unless he or she is a vampire, so sellers should light up a house for potential buyers.

Selling a home in today’s market is not easy, but it is possible. It’s also possible to sell it for what it’s worth. It simply takes a little foresight and preparation on the part of the seller.

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Advantages to Renting an Apartment

Cost Factor of Renting an Apartment

Apartments often cost less to rent than owning a home. Saving money on housing will enable saving for other things, such as vacations, cars or amassing funds for children’s private schools or college education.

Aside from the often lower price of rent, having an apartment can save money in other ways. For instance, if something major goes wrong in a rented apartment, such as a broken appliance or faulty plumbing, it’s usually the landlord’s responsibility to pay for and fix.

 Less to Worry About

In an apartment, tenants are often only responsible for what happens within their walls. For instance, household cleaning, cooking and so on. But homeowners have much more to worry about. There may be lawns to mow, driveways to maintain, falling limbs from trees to worry about. Having less to do around the home means more time for the things that are more fun in life.

Aside from having less to maintain when living in an apartment, not having to worry about a yard or driveway also helps keep costs down, as gravel and landscaping can be pricey.

The Ability to Get to Know an Area

If a person has recently moved to a new area, renting an apartment is a smart idea. This allows renters time to see if the area is actually where they want to be, and also to have time to find out more about the town. For example, what are the good and bad areas of town, what kind of jobs and services are available in the area, and what the location is like in relation to schools, parks and stores.

In some cases, a family will find out that a town is not for them, and it’s easier to get out of an apartment than to have to sell a house and move. Renting is also a good option for those who must move often, such as military families or people who have jobs that require frequent relocations. On the flip side, it’s also easier to rent an apartment on short notice than to buy a home when making sudden moves.

For some, renting an apartment is a better option than buying a house. It can be less expensive, require less worry, and enable people to become familiar with an area before committing to buy a home there.

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Pros and Cons of Renters Insurance Coverage: An Assessment of Whether Renters Property Insurance is Necessary

Although renters insurance coverage may not be the most exciting purchase, it is of fundamental importance as it will help protect the legitimate financial interests of the tenant. Insurance for renters not only protects physical possessions, it also provides valuable liability coverage. Landlord insurance only protects the physical structure and foundations of the building.

Advantages of Renters Insurance Coverage

  • Liability coverage. Insurance for renters provides coverage against personal liability in the event that the tenant’s guest should suffer an injury. The policy will also cover any fees should medical expenses be incurred whilst at the property.
  • Replacement coverage policies. Whilst more expensive than its actual cash value (ACV) policy alternative, it will pay the insured a sufficient sum of money (less the deductible) to replace an item at today’s prices.
  • Unlivable property. Should the property become unlivable due to fire, vandalism or any of the reasons specified in the contract, the renters property insurance will pay for a comparably priced place to live for up to 12 months or until a repair, rebuild or relocation has taken place.
  • Deductibles. Increasing the deductible reduces the monthly premium. However, it could also make it difficult to replace an item unless adequate personal savings are set aside.
  • Discounts. Some providers of renters content insurance offer discounts for over-55’s and the retired. This is because they are often at home more and represent a lower risk.
  • Annual subscription. It may also be possible to save money by paying annually rather than on a monthly basis. It is cheaper for the insurer to manage and administrate.

Disadvantages of Renters Insurance Coverage

  • Expense. It is yet another household expense that reduces the amount of disposable income. However, this does have to be considered in the context of what it would cost to replace household goods or cover liability in the worst case scenario.
  • Flooding and earthquakes. Whilst renters property insurance protects against 17 types of risk, it doesn’t provide coverage against flooding or earthquakes. If that person lives in a high risk area, it will be necessary to take out an additional policy.
  • Actual cash value (ACV) policies. Should a claim be necessary, the insured will only receive a payment equivalent to today’s cash value. This can cause a problem when replacing older electrical goods, especially if the deductible is relatively high. The replacement cash value (RCV) option is more expensive.
  • High value items. The terms of the policy may not cover a very valuable item and this may mean that it is necessary to pay extra or take out a separate policy.

Is Renters Home Insurance Essential?

Renters insurance coverage provides a tenant with valuable financial help in the event of personal property damage or liability to a third party. This sort of coverage will not be provided by a landlord. Not all people can afford to pay further premiums, but it is possible to reduce this cost. This could be achieved by trawling the market for the most competitive prices, paying annually, increasing the deductible and/or opting for the actual cash value (ACV) item replacement option.

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Best Website to Find a Rental Home

Craigslist

Almost everyone has heard of Craigslist, and it definitely has its pros and cons. Some people shy away from Craigslist because they are fearful that the advertisements are bogus. It is important to bring along a friend when checking out the location in person to protect yourself. However, there are some major benefits to craigslist as a source to check out rental properties: 

  1. Photos – most people provide 4 photos for users to look at before bothering to even inquire about the home
  2. Direct communication with owner – either through email or occasionally by phone, users can typically chat with the owner as opposed to a real estate agent/intermediary
  3. Bargaining – Most advertisements on craigslist are a bit above what the owner will rent the property for. Users can typically bargain with the owner to reduce the listed price.
  4. Access to more selections – When dealing with a real estate agent, renters only gain access to the few houses those agents may have for rent. Not to mention the fact that renters are typically not the priority for real estate agents, who have more to gain financially by dealer with sellers/buyers. Craigslist offers a wide variety of possibilities in one easy-to-access, free location.

Tips:

  • As mentioned, always bring a friend with you. Just because Craigslist has some great postings does not mean it does not have some potentially dangerous postings. Be careful who you trust and whose house you step into.
  • Remember that real estate agents and property managers do post on Craigslist too. If you see a bunch of listings that say the same thing (often listing offers that seem completely too good to be true), be especially wary.
  • If you are look for a specific neighborhood or a specific feature, use the top of the Craigslist page, where you can search for keywords, etc.

Other helpful sites:

Rentals.com and Rentalhomesplus.com are easy to access and very easy to use as far as narrowing the search by amenities, price range, etc. However, be aware that many advertisements are not removed quickly when the homes/apartments are already rented. There are also many location-specific sites to use; however, some request money and most are run by real estate agencies with only a few options.

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A Guide for the Budget Minded Renter in New York City

Apartment hunting in New York City is often more challenging and daunting than many other cities in America. New York is a thriving, bustling city where many different types of people work, live and play. Because of this unique nature, it attracts tourists and residents from all around the world.

In the book, Relocating to New York City and Surrounding Areas, author Ellen J. Shapiro points out that the most important aspects of living in New York City are the neighborhoods where residents live and work, as so much of their daily life will revolve around these locations. This guide was created to help residents get to the heart of apartment hunting in a realistic and budget-friendly way.

Get rid of the fantasy. The New York fantasy is to have a large fabulous apartment in a prime area for a fraction of the actual cost. Newcomers to the city are often surprised by the reality of the high costs for even the least desirable neighborhoods in New York City. Therefore, compromise is a must. As Shapiro points out: “In the real New York City, even multimillionaires have to make some compromises—and the rest..have to compromise a whole lot more.” [12]

Bargains are out there, but they are not easy to come by. When rentals that are rent-stabilized or cheaper than market rate become available, they are quickly snatched up often in hours. These elusive apartments are usually not listed on line or in magazines and are often found by word of mouth or from a very knowledgeable broker.

Focus on the budget. Consider the projected salary, taxes, monthly expenses and cost of transportation and all of those “extras” for a clearer picture of the rental budget. To save money, renters should consider moving away from Manhattan as well as to choose no fee apartments to decrease expenses. Renters with a small budget can consider sharing an apartment with roommates or even renting a small space like a studio or a room in a house to save money.
Be mindful that many landlords demand renters pass stringent background and credit checks and may demand renters to have an annual income of more than 40 times the monthly rent. For example, an apartment renting for $1,500 per month would require a minimum salary of $60,000 per year. Some rentals may require co-guarantors for those who do not have an extensive credit history.

Think about the commute to work. Focus on neighborhoods that are within easy access to transportation and if possible are on the same bus or train lines as work. Traveling crosstown for example can be more precarious than a commute from an outer-borough depending on the time of day and the mode of transit required.

Consider up-and-coming and family-friendly neighborhoods. Neighborhoods that are up-and-coming or family-friendly, without the night life or exclusive amenities, can often be the cheapest areas to live in. These areas may not be exclusive but are affordable and served well by transportation and neighborhood amenities such as parks, hospitals, shopping and restaurants.

Up-and-coming areas on the other hand are a little more gritty but are usually within reach of the more exclusive areas of the city and offer more space for the money. Residents come from a broad range of various cultures and socio-economic backgrounds creating a vibrant culturally rich atmosphere.

Shapiro suggests that up-and-coming neighborhoods are more suitable for young singles and roommates who are looking for more space for their money and may not be as suitable for families. Renters should not mind the lack of services and be able to dodge sketchy characters. [21] At one time or another, areas such as the Upper West Side, Soho, Tribeca, Chelsea and the East Village were all considered “up-and-coming”, and these areas have since become some of the most desirable areas of the city.

Narrow the focus to specific neighborhoods. Shapiro suggests that renters consider several factors when deciding on a neighborhood including their personality, the personality of the neighborhood, cost of housing, availability of desirable housing, safety and proximity to work. [12] Add to this list, comfort and neighborhood amenities. If the neighborhood is not safe or feels uncomfortable, scratch it off the list.

Considering budget and commute to work should create a more focused area to look in. Visit these areas with a friend or real estate agent to get a feel for the area, its residents, streets, transportation and amenities. A neighborhood tour should narrow the focus further. With a more narrowed focus, renters can then visit apartments in the area, observing their location, shape of the building and street during varied times before making a decision.

Do not rush to make a final decision. Do not make a final decision without going back to the location after work hours during the week, a day on the weekend and at least one late night. During these times of day, consider the noise level, number of people on the streets and safety level.

Prepare to kiss a few frogs to find a prince or princess of an apartment. New York is notorious for its creative advertisements and apartments the size of shoe boxes. Advertisements will mention the great location but neglect to mention that the living room faces a brick wall, or worse that the apartment has a bathtub in the kitchen.

Apartment hunting in the city requires tremendous effort and patience. It helps to have the knowledge of a good real estate agent or friend who lives in the city. Apartment hunters who focus on the reality of New York living, a modest and livable budget and are willing to consider areas that are affordable but less trendy will be able to find a good place on a budget.

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The Tax Consequences of Becoming a Landlord: Many Homeowners that Cannot Sell Turn to the Rental Market

As the real estate market deteriorated, many homeowners found themselves in need of a way to move out of their home without taking a large loss in value or to avoid foreclosure. A large amount of homeowners decided to become landlords. As tax time approaches, it will be important that landlords understand the implications of this decision.

Real Estate Tax Basics

Any homeowner turned landlord should consult a tax advisor when preparing their taxes. Many homeowners, who filed their own taxes in the past, will find that this simple life change complicates their taxes tremendously. It will also be extremely important to save every receipt related to the rental of the home. This includes any flyers or marketing materials, agent fees, repair costs, etc. Many of these expenses can be deducted from the rental revenue to lower the overall income from the rental. Additionally, the mortgage on the property should also be considered when deducting expenses.

Consulting a tax professional before renting the property can help to minimize potential issues related to comingling spaces. For example, if a homeowner only decides to rent a room or the top floor of the home, while keeping the basement for him/herself, there will be very different tax consequences, than if the homeowner had chosen to rent the entire home.

Real Estate and Depreciation

Homeowners are traditionally not able to count depreciation as an expense; however, once it becomes a rental, homeowners will be able to deduct depreciation. Be careful when considering this deduction, however. If a homeowner moves back into the home to use it as his/her primary resident this tax deduction might have to be repaid.

Traditionally, it is not worth the headache (or money) to deduct depreciation from a small single family home. The savings will be minimal for two reasons. First, many times the tax preparer will charge more to calculate this deduction. Second, homeowners will need to pay a depreciation recapture tax and/or more capital gains taxes when selling the home. If renting out a home is a short term strategy, don’t bother taking this deduction. If it appears that it is a longer term strategy (5+ years) then it may be worth it.

Other Real Estate Tax Considerations

Homeowners should look at their homes completely different when renting them out. Property taxes can be deducted if the home is a rental. Furthermore, any loss that a homeowner suffers while renting their home can also be deducted from their overall income. For many homeowners that find themselves in the position of renting their home for less than their mortgage, this can be a silver lining.

Again, before considering renting a home, consult a tax professional. Importantly, make sure that tax professional either specializes in real estate or has a substantial client base of real estate investors. Smart tax professionals can help first time landlords avoid the many tax pitfalls of renting their home.

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Real Estate Investment Cost Cutting: Down Markets Tend to Increase Expense Reduction as a way to Profit

In down markets, investors need to find a way to increase the value of their investment, while still maintain competitive rents. Many investors turn to reducing their costs by deferring or eliminating important maintenance items. During down times investors need to stay focused on the long-term and continue to perform maintenance capital expenditures at a minimum.

Maximize Revenues or Minimize Costs

Investors seek to maximize value in two ways, increasing rents and decreasing expenses. In down markets, they only have one tool available to them, decrease expenses. As investors seek to do this, many make the mistake of eliminating important maintenance capital expenditure items. Novice investors especially fall prey to this temptation.

Investments like cleaning gutters, changing filters, trimming trees, inspecting furnaces, etc. represent relatively small expense items in the budget. Deferring or omitting these types of expenses will hurt the long run value of the property. Additionally, investors can expect to need to put additional dollars into larger repairs at a later date. The short-term savings will cause investors long-term pain.

Watch the Competition

Another consideration investor need to factor into their investment decision is the look of comparable properties. In down markets it is even more important to keep pace with competitors. If a competitor property has additional capital improvements, then deferring these improvements in a down market could mean significant vacancies.

As competition heats up, the investor with the best property and service with competitive rents will win every time. A lack of spending at this point will lead to increased vacancy, which will further decrease the income coming from and going into the property. At some point, the investor must break this cycle and inject additional cash to stabilize the property and make it more competitive in the market.

Involve the Tenant

Investors should consider more creative ways to cut costs. Consider writing leases where tenants pay the first $200 of any repairs. This will prevent tenants from worrying the landlord for small repairs and might make them more responsible about the treatment of their property. Additionally, an investor might consider sharing the total property budget with the tenants and awarding the tenant some percentage of any cost savings at the end of the year.

These creative ways of keeping costs down enroll the tenant in the process and serve to get them more invested in the property. In the long run this will be the best way to keep costs low and tenants happy. This allows investors to maximize revenues and minimize costs.