Is a Survey Necessary When Buying a Home?

Is a Survey Necessary When Buying a Home

A detailed property survey is essential to help you find out critical details about a piece of property. Many home buyers of Fort Collins and Loveland homes overlook this step or skip it altogether to save some money. But let’s face it, is a survey necessary when buying a home?

Is a Survey Necessary When Buying a Home – Reasons to Have one Done

In this article, we’ll consider whether a survey is necessary when buying a home. we’ll look at some of the benefits of getting a property survey before purchasing property. Something you should not do when buying a house, is skip out on a step that can potentially cost you more money later on.

 It’s important to note that the protection and benefits a property survey offers a home buyer far outweigh the cost. As such, property surveys are critical to the home buying process. They provide a detailed description of the property, the lot size and the boundaries. If you’re planning to buy a plot of land or home, a home buying tip is to have property survey done, as it offers a wide range of benefits.

To Ensure You’re Paying for The Right Property

Buying a home is a big financial move, which is why you’ve likely been preparing to buy a house for some time. You want to be sure that the property described in the contract is the same one you’re paying for. A survey helps you to determine whether you’re purchasing the right home. Both the land and property are mapped out and assessed to eliminate any discrepancies.

Eliminate Disputes Over Boundary Lines and Corners

If you own property, it’s important to have accurate information about the boundaries and demarcations. This information is critical, especially before paving your driveway, add an extra room or build a fence. In cases where disputes may arise regarding boundary lines, a survey can help to provide details of the exact property dimensions.

Zoning Classification

Zoning classifications outline whether the property is zoned for residential or light industrial use. Most property owners are usually aware of their zoning classification, but you may not be aware of the restrictions. As such, you can count on a certified survey for details on any specific restrictions on how to use the property and ensure compliance with zoning requirements.

Whether You Can Subdivide

If you have future plans to subdivide the property, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the regulations first. It’s not uncommon for owners to invest in a property and later subdivide it to be sold for a profit or for family. Different jurisdictions have their own set of rules when it comes to subdividing restrictions. By investing in a property survey, you’ll be able to determine the existence of any of these regulations and their potential to affect your dividing plans.

Report on Underground Cables and Drains

Without a detailed property report, you probably won’t have a clue what’s underneath your property. Knowing what cables, wires, drains, telephone lines, gas and electricity are under your property is crucial for various reasons. For instance, you need to know the location of underground utilities before beginning any construction.

Bottom Line

As you start researching and prepare for home ownership, it’s important to make all boxes are checked before the house is officially yours. So, is a survey necessary when buying a house? The short answer is yes. The biggest benefit of a property survey is that it protects your investment. Ask your realtor about how to get a survey done. Without a qualified and extensive examination of your property, you could easily run into disputes and costly issues down the road.

Message me if your thinking about buying a Fort Collins or Loveland home at m.me/EdPowersRealEstate

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Ed Powers Real Estate 970-690-3113 ed@EdPowersRealEstate.com www.EdPowersRealEstate.com

The Coronavirus Pandemic: Is This the End of the Vacation Rental Industry?

The Coronavirus Pandemic: Is This the End of the Vacation Rental Industry

Wondering what will happen to your Fort Collins or Loveland Airbnb? After more than a month of closures due to coronavirus, Larimer County short-term rentals and accommodations can reopen April 27 with restrictions, the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment announced Thursday night.

The new restrictions on short-term accommodations apply through May 31 and include:

  • A guest occupancy limit of 50 percent of units within multiple-unit lodging facilities.
  • Single-unit accommodations, such as vacation rental homes and bed and breakfast inns, must limit occupancy to no more than 8 individuals.
  • State and local lodging regulations, when more strict, must be followed.
  • No common amenities or areas can be accessible to guests except for check-in and check-out areas.
  • Restrictions may be extended or amended in response to the pandemic.

The US short term rental industry has been under constant attack in the past few years as more and more state, county, and city authorities have been applying different measures to control its spread. However, the Coronavirus pandemic is posing a challenge of a magnitude that Airbnb-style rentals have not faced ever before. As a result, many real estate investors and other experts are wondering if the current pandemic will constitute the end of the vacation rental industry. Or will Airbnb hosts be able to survive this temporary slowdown and come back as profitable and successful as before?

The Immediate Impact of COVID-19 on the Short Term Rentals Industry

Guests started cancelling their reservations on Airbnb and other home-sharing platforms as early as February, as soon as the first infected cases were reported in the US. By March, the impact of the pandemic was already sizeable. Naturally, the major cities with the highest concentration of Coronavirus infections have been most affected.

According to Airbnb data from Mashvisor, a real estate data analytics company, the occupancy rate for short term rentals dropped significantly in the vast majority of large cities. For example, the Airbnb occupancy rate in New York declined from 70.7% in March 2019 to 49.3% in March 2020. Similarly, over the same period Seattle experienced a drop from 74.3% to 54.0%. The decrease in Airbnb rental activities has been comparable in other top markets: 33.1 percentage points in Atlanta, 29.6 percentage points in Dallas, 29.3 percentage points in Boston, 28.5 percentage points in Miami, 25.8 percentage points in Austin, 25.3 percentage points in Chicago, and 23.5 percentage points in Los Angeles.

These negative trends are further accelerating in April as the situation gets worse and worse within the US. From short term rental hosts’ perspective, these considerable drops in Airbnb occupancy rate translate into lost income. Thus, many are starting to wonder how individual real estate investors will be able to cope with the crisis and keep their rental business. This, in turn, poses a question about the general sustainability of the vacation rental industry and whether it will be able to survive the Coronavirus pandemic.

Industry and Government Support for Airbnb Hosts

Despite the pandemic and the impending economic recession, there is some good news for investors in short term rental properties. By early April, the home-sharing platform had announced a $260 million relief package for Airbnb hosts and Superhosts. As much as $250 million will go towards helping hosts cover the costs associated with cancellations of reservations with a check-in date between 14 March and 31 May. This will definitely soften the negative impact which owners of vacation rentals across the nation are feeling. This move is of particular importance for full-time investors who rely heavily or even exceptionally on the rental income generated by their properties rented out on Airbnb.

The Airbnb relief package is not the only financial help which hosts will receive during the crisis. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) also provides support to Airbnb hosts who are losing income as a result of the pandemic. Under the provisions of the Act, depending on their particular situation, many Airbnb hosts can qualify for small business grants, small business loans, and unemployment assistance.

Yet another way in which some Airbnb hosts in a particularly detrimental situation might benefit from the CARES Act include the mortgage forbearance and foreclosure moratorium clauses. These apply to homeowners who have taken federally backed mortgage loans. The mortgage forbearance policy means that borrowers are allowed to reduce their monthly mortgage payments or even pause them for a limited amount of time. The foreclosure moratorium provision, meanwhile, prevents borrowers from foreclosing on properties because lenders failed to make the mortgage payments on time.

Government backed mortgage loans are not the only ones which benefit from such clauses. Many state governments have adopted similar measures to support both homeowners and real estate investors in precarious positions.

What Hosts Can Do

The above-listed policies and stimulus packages are definitely helping the short term rental industry survive the Coronavirus pandemic. However, the most significant indicator that vacation rentals will not simply go through the crisis but come out ready to continue flourishing is the steadfastness and resourcefulness of hosts themselves.

After all, operating in a challenging environment is something which vacation rental owners are used to. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the last few years witnessed tightening short term rental regulations and laws in many US major cities as well as smaller towns. For example, non-owned occupied short term rentals are no longer legal in major tourist destinations such as Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, San Diego, and many others. This means that hosts are accustomed to being flexible and creative in order to retain their rental business and rental income without breaking any laws and rules.

Flexibility, creativity, and adaptivity are once again the qualities which will help investors in Airbnb rentals go through the crisis created by the Coronavirus outbreak.

For instance, many hosts have been quick to cater to the needs of a newly emerging group of hosts. Doctors and other medical personnel have been relocating to the areas that are most affected by the pandemic to help out their colleagues there. Many of them are willing to stay in short term rentals at the discounted rates which hosts are offering to them. It is a win-win situation for everyone as medical staff don’t have to share hotels with potentially infected people, and investors are able to regain some of their lost rental income.

Additionally, vacation rentals in small, secluded towns are attracting the elderly and other vulnerable groups who are looking for a safe haven amid the pandemic. Similarly, numerous people who are now working remotely choose to leave the big cities and relocate temporarily to more isolated, smaller towns. Airbnb hosts can employ different marketing techniques to attract this new segment of guests in order to bring back some of the demand and end up with a good rate of return even during these tough times.

The current COVID-19 pandemic is definitely challenging for short term rental hosts. Nevertheless, their willingness to adapt in order to retain their business is the sure sign that the Coronavirus will not defeat the Airbnb rental industry. To the contrary, as soon as things begin to come back to normal, Airbnb will once again emerge as the optimal rental strategy in the majority of US markets.

Daniela Andreevska is Marketing Director at Mashvisor, a real estate analytics tool which helps real estate investors quickly find traditional and Airbnb investment properties. A research process that’s usually 3 months now can take 15 minutes. We provide all the real estate information in easy to understand visualizations.

Message me if your thinking about buying a Fort Collins or Loveland home at m.me/EdPowersRealEstate

Ed Powers Real Estate 970-690-3113 ed@EdPowersRealEstate.com www.EdPowersRealEstate.com

Should You Buy a Short Sale Property?

Should You Buy a Short Sale Property?

Deciding to buy property is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. It has many long-term implications and should never be undertaken lightly. The process of buying a property can be mind-boggling as there are so many options out there.

One of them is a short sale home. This is a property that is for sale at a price lower than that which the current owner owes the lending institution.

How does a short sale work?

Homeowners who have run into problems paying off their mortgage loans can often take advantage of a short sale. When they get into a situation where they have no alternative but to contemplate a short sale, the house’s worth is lower than that of the mortgage balance.

The only other option the homeowner might have is going into foreclosure. It’s a win-win situation for the lending institution and the homeowner. The bank avoids having to repossess the house, which is a time-consuming and costly process. The seller can escape without having their credit too severely affected or having to declare bankruptcy.

What are the conditions for a short sale?

The factor that precipitates a short sale is a drop in the house price by at least 20%. The homeowner no longer has equity in the home. However, they have no choice but to continue paying the mortgage. When they can no longer do so, it’s time to get help.

Before the homeowner can contemplate a short sale, the lending institution must approve. The bank is likely going to lose money in the process, so it needs to weigh in on the decision. Documentation must be presented that shows a short sale as the best option for all parties involved.

Should you buy a short sale property?

It sounds like a no-brainer since you’re going to get the house at a reduced price. However, the process is lengthy and requires much paperwork. A short sale can take between two and four months to complete.

As the buyer, you’ll need to have the approval of the owner and the bank. During their negotiations, the bank and the owner set a minimum price for which the property should be sold.

Getting the help you need

As soon as you see a short sale property you’re interested in buying, contact the estate agent immediately. The agent will need to do some research on the property to make sure that all the paperwork is in order. The owner has to supply a lot of documentation to support the short sale.

Those with some experience in buying short sale properties suggest that you, as the buyer, make sure that the agent has some experience. Someone who’s completing their first short sale might not be the best option for you if you want the transaction to proceed smoothly.

You’ll need to make an offer on the property, much like you would at an auction. It is possible that another buyer could outbid you. Your estate agent might approach you to up your bid. You can do so if you have the finances and feel that you have a genuine interest in the property.

As much as a short sale property might seem like a bargain, weigh up the pros and cons carefully. Often, homeowners who have been struggling to keep up with their mortgage payments have not kept up with home maintenance either.

You might need to spend a lot of money on house repairs, wiping out any savings you might otherwise have made. It will also take a lot of time to complete the transaction, so it won’t be an option if you’re looking to move immediately.

Message me if your thinking about buying a Fort Collins or Loveland home at m.me/EdPowersRealEstate

Ed Powers Real Estate 970-690-3113 ed@EdPowersRealEstate.com www.EdPowersRealEstate.com

Value-Boosting Exterior Updates to Make to Your Fort Collins or Loveland Home Now

Value-Boosting Exterior Updates to Make to Your Home Now

If you’re thinking of selling your home sometime in the near future, you may be wary of having work done to the interior right now, as we all shelter in place. But you can still safely make exterior updates to get your home prepared your to go on the market, and help support tradespeople, landscapers, and handymen at the same time. 

Keep in mind that you might need to purchase the supplies for whatever work you’re doing, and delivery times may be longer than you want. If you don’t want to step into a big-box store, you’ll be happy to know that Lowe’s and Home Depot are both now offering curbside pickup.  

Here are some top tips to get the outside of your Fort Collins or Loveland home in great shape.

Paint the house

A fresh coat of paint can make a home look brand new, and also give potential buyers a great first impression. If you’re planning to list sometime soon, think about the fact that your curb appeal is more important now than ever. In this time of quarantine, buyers definitely aren’t going to bother moving forward with a tour of the inside if the outside isn’t exceptional.

If your whole house doesn’t need painting, redoing or updating the trim can give it an updated look and a well-taken-care-of feel.

Clean it up

“A bucket of soapy water and a long-handled, soft-bristled brush can remove the dust and dirt that have splashed onto your wood, vinyl, metal, stucco, brick, and fiber cement siding,” said houselogic. “If you can’t spray off the dirt, scrub it off with a solution of 1/2 cup trisodium phosphate—TSP, available at grocery stores, hardware stores, and home improvement centers—dissolved in 1 gallon of water.” 

Power wash the exterior

If even the TSP can’t wipe away the years of grime, get your hands on a power washer. 

“According to the National Association of Realtors, you can expect to add $10,000 to $15,000 to the sales price after pressure washing exterior siding,” said Painters in Philly. “This is a significant number when you consider the average cost to pressure wash a house runs between $100 and $300.” 

Redo your front door

Maybe it just needs a good scrubbing, or maybe a new color would give the front of your home the pop it needs to stand out. If you do need a whole new door, you’ll appreciate knowing that front door replacement consistently has one of the highest returns on investment (ROI). 

Check your eaves and downspouts

Cobwebs, wasps nests, and grime may have collected here.   

Stain your fence

This is something you can do yourself if you’re looking to pass the time, but do yourself a favor and rent or buy a sprayer for a professional look that will save you hours—and save your muscles from days of pain. According to HomeAdvisor, “The price of having a professional paint or stain your fence averages $2,000. Homeowners could pay anywhere between $750 to $4,250 depending on the condition, height and length of the fence. Costs average $3 to $17 per linear foot or $1 to $2.50 per square foot. The cost of paint or stain, before labor, is $240 to $600.”

Wash your windows

Having a professional come out to wash your windows is the best way to get them sparkling clean, but this is also a job you (or your teenagers!) can tackle. Here are a few tips for getting them looking great: use dishwashing liquid and buy a squeegee. Learn more here

Attend to the landscaping

“A well-manicured lawn, fresh mulch, and pruned shrubs boost the curb appeal of any home,” said houselogic. “Replace overgrown bushes with leafy plants and colorful annuals. Surround bushes and trees with dark or reddish-brown bark mulch, which gives a rich feel to the yard. Put a crisp edge on garden beds, pull weeds and invasive vines, and plant a few geraniums in pots. Green up your grass with lawn food and water. Cover bare spots with seeds and sod, get rid of crab grass, and mow regularly. If you’re selling anytime soon, any work you do now will reap benefits in your home’s selling price, usually 100% or more according to the ‘Remodeling Impact Report’ from the National Association of REALTORS®.”

Have your roof checked

As you get closer to listing your home for sale, you’ll want to make sure your roof is in good shape. Getting it checked now during this slow time means you won’t have to wait in line should there be a rush later on. 

Get permission!

If you live in a neighborhood that has an HOA, be sure to take the proper steps to get any approvals needed for the work you’re doing. The last thing you need right now are fines or work stoppages because you didn’t go through the proper channels.

Message me if your thinking about selling a Fort Collins or Loveland home at m.me/EdPowersRealEstate

Ed Powers Real Estate 970-690-3113 ed@EdPowersRealEstate.com www.EdPowersRealEstate.com

6 Ways You Can Protect Your New Home

When you purchase a new home, you want to take care of it as well as you can. There are a lot of different ways you can protect your home. They range from security to preparing for expected expenses. These six tips will help you ensure your home is always as protected as possible.

Insure It Fully

Your insurance is an important tool for ensuring that your home is protected against the unforeseen. It is a way to protect yourself against the costs of damages and personal liabilities. However, not all homeowner’s insurance is equal.Understanding home insurance will help you make better decisions for your home.

While not everyone needs every form of insurance, being prepared for the unforeseen is important. For example, if you live in Arizona, you likely don’t need flood insurance, but you probably do in Florida.

Get a Warranty

Homeowners insurance won’t cover all the possible expenses you experience. For example, it won’t cover damage to major appliances and systems due to wear and tear. A home warranty, on the other hand, will help with these costs.

It is a simple way to extend your protection, so you aren’t caught unprepared. Your home needs to be maintained and repaired from time to time. A warranty and insurance will help you do that.

Buy a Security System

Of course, damage and wear and tear aren’t the only issues you need to contend with. Finding the right  home security system will help you protect against unwanted entrants. Even a basic system can make a huge difference in your security. Burglars and other unauthorized people generally target homes that are easy to access.

Many systems also monitor for smoke and other hazards. The right monitoring subscription can protect you against many threats.

Trim Back Vegetation

Vegetation growing up against your house can be a risk for two reasons. First, it is a way for burglars to get close to your home without being easily seen. Second, branches and debris can damage your home.

Keeping your vegetation well-trimmed and maintained can help keep your home safe. Better yet, it is easy to do and will make your home look a lot nicer. It is a smart practice and much easier if you keep up with regular groundskeeping.

Keep Up With Maintenance

Similarly, regular maintenance will help protect your home against minor issues causing bigger ones. A little cracking paint may not seem like a big issue. However, paint protects the structure underneath it. Fixing the issue early involves a little sanding and painting. Waiting may mean mold, rot or other issues.

Again, it is significantly cheaper and easier to address problems promptly. This is one area that the right warranty and insurance can come in handy. For example, if your air conditioning is making a strange sound, you can use your warranty to get it checked and fixed rather than just waiting. That could save you from having to replace the whole system in the near future.

Meet Your Neighbors

Your neighbors are one of your best protections against issues such as unwanted entrants, fire and other similar problems. The people who live around you can e your eyes and ears when you aren’t home. While not every neighbor is interested in looking out for you, getting to know the people around you can never hurt.

Plus, this has the added benefit of enjoying your local community. It is often nicer to live in a neighborhood when you are friends with those around you. So, get out there and get to know people, at least the ones on either side of your house.

These tips will help you protect your new home. They can give you peace of mind when you are out. Your home is a major investment and keeping it safe both physically and financially is worth the effort. Give these ideas a try in your new home.

Message me if your thinking about buying a Fort Collins or Loveland home at m.me/EdPowersRealEstate

Ed Powers Real Estate 970-690-3113 ed@EdPowersRealEstate.com www.EdPowersRealEstate.com