Never Wait to Buy Real Estate

With rising home prices, is now a good time to get involved in real estate development or investments?

A 2020 National Association of Realtors report indicates a 22% increase in home sales compared to 2019. What does that mean for you as a potential investor?

The Best Time to Buy a House Was 5 Years Ago

Although home prices are soaring in this current seller’s market, the low-interest rate trend can help offset the cost of the investment over time. Mortgage interest rates are historically low in 2021. As of July 2021, interest rates were as follows:

  • 30-year fixed-mortgage is averaging an interest rate of 3.03%
  • 15-year fixed-mortgage is averaging an interest rate of 2.31%

To find the best rates when investing in real estate, refer to a mortgage broker. You’ll need to have your current credit score, an idea of what your down payment will be, and an understanding of your debt-to-income ratio. These factors and more can affect your eligibility for a lower interest rate. With properties being snatched up in a matter of days, keeping accurate financial reports can make or break your chances of securing a good mortgage interest rate,. If you don’t have pre-approval for a loan, it can be almost impossible to get all the paperwork in order and make an offer before a property is under contract with someone else.

Why Real Estate is a Good Investment

Investing in real estate is usually better than investing elsewhere, such as in the stock market. No matter how the value of your property changes, eventually it will increase. 

While mortgage interest rates are great right now, costs to build are soaring. With shortages of raw materials and labor, not only does it cost more to build, the projected timelines seem to extend far into the future. In early 2021, we saw the price of lumber increase by 112%; yes, you read that right! 

Thanks to people spending more time than ever in their homes, the desire to remodel or build new has increased demand for supplies, causing prices to soar. That unpredictable trend put the lumber industry in a tailspin because their 2020 projections became wildly inaccurate and they weren’t prepared for the sudden building boom. Add to that the loss of workers due to social distancing practices and it’s hard to tell if the industry will catch up any time soon.

Regardless, if your income is secure, it’s a great time to invest in real estate. With higher demand comes the potential for higher payouts.

Things to Consider When Investing

Just because a property is priced right doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you. When you want to purchase a property, be sure you’re looking at it through the eyes of your potential client. Before you buy, consider:

  • Location
  • New Construction vs Existing 
  • Demand for Housing/Business Rentals
  • Residential vs Commercial Property

Your property should be in a desirable location for renters or buyers, and what you invest in should reflect current trends. Are more people looking for new builds or for a property that already exists and is ready to go? Are people looking to rent (potentially from you), or are they more interested in buying for their home or business? Do you want to be a property manager for residential or commercial rentals? 

Top Housing Markets in 2021

Popular locations in 2021 include the following states. However, if you’re not able or interested in property in these areas, talk with a real estate agent to determine what’s hot in your own state, county, or city. Residential versus commercial will also influence where it’s best for you to invest, so take the property’s use into consideration.

  • New Hampshire
  • California
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Indiana
  • Washington state
  • Wisconsin
  • Nevada
  • Massachusetts
  • Connecticut
  • Idaho

How to Get Started in Real Estate Investing

Whether you’re looking to diversify your investment portfolio, or just get started, real estate can be a good route to take. You might invest for future payout, or to supplement your current income now. Whatever the case, how do you get started in real estate investment or development?

Short-Term Vacation Rentals

If you’d like to start small, consider renting a room in your home for short-term vacation rentals. Via Airbnb or VRBO, you could see if acting as a landlord is for you, whether it’s just a room or your whole house. If you already own a second home, it’s a good way to start making it pay for itself by renting it out when you’re not staying there yourself. 

Long-Term Rental Properties

If you’d like to go a more traditional route, you could simply offer up a property you currently own for long-term rentals. Working with a property management company or doing it all yourself, you can earn additional income or at least have the property pay for itself via rental income. 

There are a variety of ways you can set up your rental property; maybe it’s parcelled out room-by-room in a college town or rented as a whole to a family. Maybe you invest in an entire apartment building and manage multiple units; just be sure that whatever you choose to do, you can manage unexpected expenses such as repairs or vacancies.

Real Estate Investment Trusts

Also known as REITs, these trusts are for investors who want to dabble in real estate without actually owning a property. A REIT is created via a trust, during which the investor’s (or investors’, plural) money is used to purchase an income property. These properties can then be sold for a profit. The trust must then pay investors 90% of the taxable profit, thus avoiding income taxes on the sale.

Properties purchased by REITs can include residential and commercial properties, and the transaction doesn’t require a realtor when it comes time to cash out. 

Real Estate Investment Groups

Referred to as REIGs in the business, these groups allow an individual the benefits of owning rental property without having to manage it themselves. REIGs do require capital, but a group of people goes in together like a mutual fund. With the funds, the group can purchase investment properties or build them from the ground up.

One of the benefits of participating in an REIG is that you’ll have rent protection in the event your individual rental unit is unoccupied. The group collectively manages all the units, and a portion of all rents collected are pooled for incidentals.

Online Real Estate Investments

Do you know there are online real estate platforms that can help facilitate the purchase and sale of properties? Capital is procured via crowdfunding, forming a group of investors. You can invest in a single project, or get involved in a whole portfolio. Online access means you’re not limited to a certain locale, and it’s easier to diversify your investments. You do need to meet certain criteria depending on the platform, so do your research to find one that’s the best fit for you.

Flipping Houses

Home renovation shows may make it look easy, but house flipping isn’t for the faint of heart. It can be a great investment, as it often involves purchasing the worst house in the best possible neighborhood. Flipping it gets the house up to snuff so it can compete with comparables and potentially allow you to turn a profit. This can be risky, so it’s important to have a reliable team or partner to help you calculate how much you’ll put into the property, how long it will take, and how much you can list it for when done. 

There are a variety of ways to get involved in real estate investment, no matter what your capital or where you live. 

A Look a Luxury – Increasing Home Value with Glass

Glass windows in homes became popular and more common in 17th century England. Before then, stained glass windows were often used in the construction of church buildings, but glass windows were not an affordable or practical option otherwise. As result, having glass in ones’ home was a sign of wealth.

Growing Popularity of Windows

Early glass windows did allow light into structures but didn’t always offer a clear view due to the process through which the glass was made. By the 19th century, glass production was streamlined and improved, making better quality glass became more affordable and widely available. 

How Windows Increase Value

Once glass windows become more commonplace, they got more creative in their design and function. They not only let in light but can improve your home’s appearance inside and out. And although the use of glass windows is no longer a definitive sign of one’s social standing, the right use and application can be. 

Here’s how the use of glass in architecture adds monetary and visual value:

  • Improved curb appeal
  • Increased energy efficiency
  • Blocks noise
  • Allows for better natural light indoors
  • Provides privacy (tinting)
  • Increased safety (shatterproof glass)
  • Gives the appearance of more square footage

In addition to these pros, glass is also a renewable resource. It is 100% recyclable and is touted as an eco-friendly design choice. 

Types of Glass Used in Architecture

Did you know that there are different types of glass used for different types of architecture? When remodeling or building new, be sure you know what is best for your space, and what is architecturally consistent with the design of your home or business.

Sheet or Plate Glass  

Doors and windows in homes and commercial buildings use a lot of sheet or plate glass. This glass is formed in panes, which can be cut into various sizes, making it versatile. 

Wired Glass

Think back to your days in school; do you remember seeing windows with small, diamond patterns inside the glass panes? This is wired glass, which is commonly used for interior partitions or windows in fire escapes, hospitals, and schools due to its fire rating.

Laminated Glass

Laminated glass has an inner layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB), which helps hold layers of glass together in the event it is struck. The PVB creates shatter-resistant glass that is ideal for use in skylights, and homes or offices that need to block noise and UV rays.

Other Window Materials

Once you’ve picked out the type of glass for your windows and doors, be sure the frames they come in are consistent with your design and offer the best performance for your climate.

Window Materials Cost Comparison

  • Aluminum frame – least expensive
  • Vinyl frame
  • Composite frame
  • Wood frame
  • Fiberglass frame – most expensive

You may be tempted to save on the initial cost of your windows by investing in vinyl, but if they end up needing to be replaced sooner than a more expensive material, you end up spending more over time.

Window Styles

Depending on the type of home or office you’re building, you have a variety of windows styles to choose from. If you’re bored of regular rectangular windows, consider adding a flourish with one of the following options.

Single Hung vs Double Hung Windows

A single hung window is one that opens from the bottom, with the bottom half of the window sliding up to meet the top half. Double-hung windows allow you to slide the bottom of the window up to the top, or the top of the window down to the bottom. They offer versatility that single-hung windows don’t.

Casement Windows

Instead of sliding a window up or down, a casement window has a vertical hinge. This allows you to push the window out, or pull it in, to open it. The casement window is operated by a hand crank so you can open and/or close the window for ventilation.

Awning Windows

Also operated by a crank, awning windows open on a horizontal hinge, much like a door. They can be swung open outward, away from the wall of the house by operating the hand crank.

Bay Windows

Three or more connecting windows offer an interesting architectural element in a home or office. The windows form a nook or alcove inside the home, providing picturesque views of the outside from a variety of vantage points. 

Dormer Windows

Like a bay window, a dormer window juts out from the wall of a home (or roofline) to prove a nook inside. Dormer windows are flanked by siding that hits perpendicular to the roof of the home. 

Transom Windows

These serve as a header over doors, or other windows. A transom can complement existing elements of your home, and offer privacy while still letting in light. Traditionally rectangular, you could opt for a transom that is arched, half-round, or “eyebrow” shaped.

No matter the placement, be sure to explore different window shapes, such as gothic, napoleon, pentagon, or even round. 

Interior Glass

According to home renovation expert Bob Vila, there’s about the same return on investment (ROI) whether you add a new tub or a curbless, walk-in shower to your bathroom. So while one over the other may not significantly affect your home value, it’s important to know your buyer demographic or stay true to your home’s current design style. Are homebuyers looking for luxurious soaker tubs, or high-end-looking, glass-surround showers? 

Interior glass in your commercial building whether it be an office, restaurant, or hotel-casino, should send a message to your clientele about your brand. Is your image modern, sleek, futuristic, or simple? Glass interiors can help reinforce your aesthetic and what your business stands for.

Other ways to add value with the use of interior glass:

  • Glass partitions
  • Mirrors
  • Tabletops
  • Lighting
  • Textured or frosted glass accents (doors, windows, partitions)
  • Acoustic glass (noise reducing)

Are Windows Worth the Investment?

The return on investment for windows is estimated at 73.4% for new vinyl. Using wood can garner an ROI of about 70% if you choose to sell your home at some point after the upgrade. Although wood is a more expensive material when installing your windows, vinyl offers more flexibility and, therefore, a higher estimated ROI.

If you don’t plan to sell any time soon, you can still enjoy some extra cash in your pocket thanks to energy-efficient windows. Installing windows that are designed to regulate the temperature of your home can save you up to 30% of your current energy costs. Your furnace and air conditioner won’t have to work so hard to keep your house heated or cooled, and new windows can also offer UV protection for the interior of your home, including your wall paint and furniture.

Getting creative with this renewable design resource can add luxury to your home or business, even if it’s not as rare of a building material as it once was. 

What It Costs to Build a Home

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the average square footage of a home in the United States (2021 data) is 2,594. The average cost to build a home this size is $296,652.

The Material Costs of Building

That average may look appealing, but there are a lot of factors that can quickly change it. The NAHB estimates that while the average cost of a new build is just under $300,000, the high-end estimate to build is closer to $416,000. 

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