It sounded like such a good idea, right? Update the kitchen, do some painting, some new fixtures, maybe some landscaping and then you can sell your home for top dollar or create the home of your dreams. As the days turn into weeks, then months and your bank account slowly drains down, that perfect home starts to seem like just a pipe dream. You've fallen victim to the most common renovation problem: scope creep.
Scope creep is the general term for when your project gets expanded beyond its original borders either through intentional decisions or unintentional discoveries or mistakes. Once you’re down this path, the time and cost can start to grow exponentially.
You Don’t Have to Be a Victim
Even the best-laid plans can fall to the wayside when the unexpected happens, but you can prevent scope creep from happening to you by planning for a variety of eventualities and getting help from professionals. First and foremost, pick what you want and stick with it. Mid-project changes nearly always increase the costs more than you think they will. Your builder will have budgeted for your original plans including pre-ordering fixtures and materials, finding ways to group orders together for better costs and planning for what’s best available in a particular season. When you change your mind after you place those orders or allocated any extra funds elsewhere, you can cascade your pricing up. You also lengthen your construction time, since you may have to wait for new fittings or materials to ship before completion of the work. This delay can push you into a new season, which can cause its own problems.
In addition to the problems you can cause, there are many factors out of your control. Remember that even if you have the most professional and realistic builder, any project estimate is just that: an estimate. They are guessing based on research and experience. That can come back to bite you when their regular suppliers are out of stock or have increase prices. Weather, even on the opposite side of the country, can affect the pricing and availability of materials, fixtures, and more, so keep that in mind when making your plans. The most dangerous unavoidable problem is the weather. Unexpected rain can slow or stop work even change how paint or grout dry and causing cracks in addition to delays. Nearly every pricing delay is also a budget increase and vice versa.
Use a Professional
While some things you can DIY, for large projects on a specific timeline, you’re best off getting the right help. An experienced builder is familiar with scope creep and should warn you about any changes you request and what they will do to your timeline and budget. Choose your builder near to when they make the bid so they can put in purchase orders and get the prices they quoted you. Spend some time thinking about what you want and be sure about your plan before getting estimates. Once you decide on that plan, stick to it. No matter how good your builder, they will still be giving you’re their best estimate, so always add at least 20-25% to both the time and cost estimates you receive.
Want to know the best renovations for your property? Ask your real estate professional for a recommendation!
After a massive investment in real estate, the next step is managing your property investment effectively. As a property owner, there are some specific management requirements that you must consider. Here are some tips to follow for successful property management.
Take the Maintenance Seriously
Keeping up with your maintenance is one of the most important things that you should. It is essential to do so because you are legally responsible for the responsible for making the house safe for habitation. That is, you should keep the areas of the home in a good state, and provide a place for the tenant to throw their garbage. A poorly maintained property will not be attractive to prospective tenants. People will not be willing to stay in a pest-infested house with plumbing issues.
Avoid Tenant Turnover
It is essential to keep your tenants happy so they will not have any cause to consider another house due to inconvenience, negligence, or other issues. What you can do to keep your tenant satisfied is simple; responding to repair request is one of the ways to make them happy. Also, make sure you go for other good tenants. One of the reasons most tenants relocate is that they are not in good terms with their neighbors; hence, you have to be cautious in this area. You can weed out the bad tenants by putting strict tenant screening procedures in place.
Do not disobey the Landlord Tenant Law
The law gives you a structure to follow, which will streamline your management process and make you avoid some mistakes. For instance, you will be familiar with the rules of the amount to collect a security deposit and when you should return the money. Furthermore, the law will provide you with a tenant evicting process and what can make you evict a tenant in your state. You need to get yourself acquainted with the statewide landlord rules and also check your local town for any new laws.
Hiring a Property Manager
Sometimes, the task of managing a property can be overwhelming. You can consider hiring a property manager. Hiring a property manager is not cheap, and it is a critical decision; hence, you need to be sure of your financial standing before making your decision. Also, you have to remember that there are bad eggs among the property managers that can destroy your rental property; therefore, you need to screen them thoroughly before hiring.
Having a property manager will ensure that you can get the best from your property and investment.
166 Forest Drive, Fitzwilliam, NH 03447
Buying a home as a single individual comes with its own set of unique experiences and challenges. Some are to be expected, like financing with a single income. While others not so much, like a more competitive market.
You know that financing will be based on your sole income. However, the vast majority of homeowners are couples who have dual incomes. Your eligibility is going to be very different than that of a couple and for some home buyers when they receive a lower number this comes as a shock. Expect to see numbers that are on the lower side of those who apply as couples.
Since you are on a sole income you may want to look into various loan types such as those that offer low-interest rates and lower down payments. Two to look at are first-time buyers programs and FHA loans.
When comparing options watch the lenders fee in comparison to the interest rate. Where you may have low-interest rate it might come with a higher lender fee. Do the math on these ratios to get a true value of each.
Before applying for mortgage approval, clean up your budget and handle any existing debts, especially expensive ones. Pay off card balances, refinance student loans, and swap out expensive monthly car payments for one that is more reasonable.
Draw up a budget and get really clear on just how much house you can afford month to month. Include the cost of house ownership and maintenance in your budget in addition to the cost of future monthly mortgage payments.
As a sole earner having savings is incredibly important as you don’t have a second income to rely on. In addition to setting aside your down payment (as close to the recommended 20% as you can), build up a nest egg of three to six months worth income should anything misfortune arise.
Start the buying process well prepared with the right mindset. Smaller houses make up a lower percentage of the housing market and cheaper homes are competitive when it comes to the buying process. Be ready for a search that might go a little longer and a buying process that needs you to move a little faster than traditional ones.
Bring a trusted friend or family member with you to home viewings to have a sounding board for your decision process. It’s easier to get swept away emotionally when you don’t have a partner to hash out the gritty details with. Find someone who can come to each viewing with you so that you can compare the different homes pro’s and con’s together.
Buying a home as an individual is a unique process but it doesn’t have to be a difficult or lonely one. Ask for feedback from your realtor, bring a trusted friend and know what to expect from the buying process as a sole income earner.
Getting into physical shape takes effort and consistency. You will need to outline the steps it will take to get to your goals. A healthier financial life takes the same thing. When it is your goal to take steps towards having a healthier relationship with your money, it is good to get something written down. If you do not know where to start, do not worry. Start by considering what you would like to achieve in the next 90 days. This time-frame will give you enough time to take a few small steps toward progress and then evaluate what to continue to work on and what to adjust.
Personal finance experts recommend tracking your spending for 30 days so you can see where your money is going. If you have one income source and one bank account that all your expenses go through, go back through the last couple of months and use that information to track your spending. You may not completely realize how frequently you are spending money on convenience items or extra trips to the grocery store just for one item but coming home with ten. Maybe you have subscriptions or memberships you are no longer using. When you track all the places your money goes over a period, you can then decide where adjustments will help you achieve your goals. In today's world of online transactions, it is easy to spend money with little thought or intention. You may have almost all your bills on auto pay or your bank’s bill pay option making that part of your financial life easier to manage. You may also be unaware of where you could save money because so many bills are on automatic.
Take the time to outline a few goals. An emergency fund is a good idea. Most of the population is only one to two pay cycles away from disaster. Having even a small amount in savings can help you keep your financial life predictable. Life will throw you curve balls and when you can meet those without throwing your goals off track, you will feel empowered and encouraged. Do not let that thought overwhelm so it keeps you from starting where you are with what you have. The realization is that you are ensuring that you will end up with financial health down the road.
Write what you think your monthly total expenses are and then go total up the last 30 days of spending. Were you close?