What you Should Know Before Renting out your Home

Renting out your Home

Real estate investments are a great way to diversify your portfolio. However, purchasing rental properties is beyond the budget for many people. What if there was a way to make money without the expense of a second property? Nowadays, you can make extra income by renting out your home. Some homeowners choose to rent out their entire home and downsize to simpler accommodations. Another option is renting out single rooms in your home and hosting guests through sites like Airbnb and Flipkey. Before listing your property, here are some important considerations about renting out your home.

Know the Market Demands

The first thing to consider is your home’s rental appeal. Just because you have the space doesn’t automatically mean people will want to pay for it. It’s important to know the real estate demands in your location to determine if renting out your home will be profitable in the long run. If the demand is low, it will be difficult to find renters.

The second consideration should be curb appeal. A little research will give you a better idea of what features are appealing to potential tenants. Compare your property to others in the neighborhood to see if your home would be an attractive option. You will need to complete all home repairs and should consider other small updates that can add value to your home. First impressions are lasting, so be sure that your home is memorable for all the right reasons.

The Finances of Renting out your Home

Your first financial question will be how much to charge your renters. Knowing the local real estate market will give you a clearer idea of rates. You can start by comparing your property to similar homes in your neighborhood. Be sure to set a price that will cover any additional expenses and keep you in the black each month.

The whole point of renting out your home is to bring in more income. However, any savvy investor will tell you that you must spend money to make money. Transforming your home into a rental property takes time, investment, and attention to detail. Home repairs and property management can be both pricey and unexpected. Before listing your property, assess how much work and the approximate costs of what needs to be done.

If you decide your home is ready for the real estate market, the next step is to get the word out. The advertising strategy depends on whether you are renting a single room, an entire property, or looking for long-term renters. Rental sites offer a wide range of options in accommodations and let you have a look at the competition in your area. Some  websites require a membership fee while others take a percentage after booking. Many homeowners choose to hire a professional property management company to handle the advertising and daily details. Choose the best option that keeps you under budget. The last thing you want is to drive yourself into debt before you begin.

The Legal Aspects of Renting your Home

Before you take the plunge into the real estate market, you should also consider the legal aspects of renting out your home. Each state has specific laws regulating rental properties and reporting of additional earned income. It’s wise to contact the City Housing Administration and a Certified Public Accountant to ensure you are complying with all state and federal laws.

You should also familiarize yourself with the Residential Tenancy Act so you understand both the property owner’s obligations and tenants’ rights. Draw up a rental agreement that outlines the rules, security deposits, rent collection, repairs, fines, terminations, and agreement to inspection. There are lease templates available online, but it’s smart to consult with a lawyer.

Notify your insurance company as well to update your policy and make sure the property is covered. Gaps in the coverage could leave you vulnerable in case of an accident. Knowledge and full compliance with the laws will keep you and your investments safe against severe fines or legal claims.

Taking the Leap

There are a lot of financial, legal and personal considerations when you decide to rent out your home. It is not something that should be taken lightly. Learn what it takes to manage an investment property and turn a profit. If your pro list outweighs the cons, then it’s time to get out there and start making money by renting out your home!


Renting out your Home

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Science Fair Hacks to Bring Home the Blue Ribbon

Science Fair Hacks

For most parents and teachers, the spring semester means a return to school activities and busy schedules. For students who are serious about science, it’s time to get to work designing their science fair experiments. Some choose to purchase a pre-packaged kit, however you don’t need to break the bank to find a winning idea. Before you whip out your credit card, you should consider these cheap science fair hacks using things around your house. Set a positive learning example and investigate potential projects together.

Keep it Simple

The first step is to use the scientific method to develop a hypothesis. You never know what will spark a child’s imagination, so encourage them to think like a scientist and observe the things around them. They may find inspiration in your garden, refrigerator, recycling bin, garage, or even the family pet. Remember though, safety first!

If your child is still struggling to find an idea, there are a ton of websites and videos that can help. The key is to find something that is age appropriate that they will be able to explain to judges. Parental involvement is always encouraged, but full participation could get your child disqualified. If the student doesn’t understand the scientific principle, then it’s senseless to waste time and effort on it.

Science Fair Dates and Deadlines

It’s easy to forget dates and school events if they aren’t written down. Many important details get lost in the bustle and papers shoved into the bottom of school bags. The last thing you want is to find yourself preparing an entire display the night before it’s due. Speaking from personal experience, I would prefer to avoid the stress and sleepless night of work by planning ahead.

There are many scientific experiments that are both interesting and free, but rely on time and observation. Weather, health, growth cycles of plants or molds, and chemical reactions are great ways to stand apart from the competition. Unfortunately, the experiments are only successful when given enough time to complete.

With a little forethought and guidance, this type of project could be the perfect opportunity to help foster your child’s interest in science. It can also teach them the importance of responsibility with a daily routine.

Strict Supply Budget

Display materials can quickly eat away at your budget, especially if you procrastinate. Take inventory of what you already have and help your child plan the layout for their board. It’s wise to have an idea of what you need before you walk into an art supply or craft store. Otherwise, you may spend a small fortune in stickers, stencils, and printed paper.

If you are unable to recycle old projects, consider teaming up with other parents to buy supplies online or at wholesale clubs. For just under $75, you can buy enough display boards and construction paper for 25 individual projects. It never hurts to search the online classifieds like Craigslist or FreeCycle; you may find exactly what you need for a fraction of the cost.

Science fairs are a unique opportunity to actively engage in your child’s education. Your enthusiasm could instill an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). It could open up a world of new possibilities. Don’t miss out on a chance to connect and teach your children the value of a good education. It’s easy to find a winning science fair project with a little guidance and creativity.

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Top Sites to Sell Your Arts and Crafts

Top Sites to Sell Your Arts and Crafts

In the days before the internet, artisans had limited venues to sell their arts and crafts. We now live in a world where billions of people connect online at the click of a button. Artists are moving beyond trade shows and local art fairs to sell their products online. With more than 62 million Americans participating in crafting activities each year, it’s the perfect time to create an online presence and build your brand. Whether you are looking to expand your business or turn your hobby into a money-maker, here are some of the top sites to help you sell your arts and crafts.

Top Sites for Arts and Crafts

1. Etsy

Since its launch in 2005, Etsy has become the industry standard for online artisan marketplaces. Shoppers can browse through multitudes of handmade and vintage items ranging from décor, jewelry, apparel, toys, art, and craft supplies. With reported sales topping $3 billion, it is definitely one of the top sites to sell your arts and crafts.

Etsy is ideal for first-time venders since the name draws a lot of internet traffic. The website hosted 2.1 million sellers and more than 39 million buyers in 2018, growing more each year. Their platform exposes you to potential clients from around the world in ways that were not possible before. This lets artists focus on their work instead of marketing and promotion.

The site operates like a traditional craft fair where vendors setup a personal storefront to sell their goods. The seller pays a $0.20 listing fee per item and 5% commission on all sales. There is also another small payment processing fee, but it does guarantee secure online transactions. Many sellers agree that these fees are a small price to pay for access to Etsy’s user-friendly marketplace.

2. Handmade at Amazon

You know you are in the right marketplace if Amazon is involved. The world’s largest web retailer is now venturing into arts and crafts. Vendors must submit their application to Handmade at Amazon and receive approval. If you get approved, you will receive an invitation to create your Artisan Profile where you can sell your arts and crafts. The process ensures all the items are handmade and enforces strict bans on anything that violates intellectual property rights.

Advertising through Amazon grants you access to the largest online shopping platform, but it does come at a cost. They deduct 15% from each sale in addition to shipping costs. This means you will have to give greater thought to how you package, price and promote your work. However, there is unlimited earning potential if you can claim a slice of the Amazon pie.

3. Shopify

If marketplaces aren’t for you, consider hosting your own site through Shopify. The site is great for small businesses and established brands, boasting more than $82 billion in sales. With more than a million businesses in 175, it truly is a global presence.

Shopify allows you to build your own store makes the initial setup a breeze with professional templates, business tools, and support. The app store also offers a ton of options to customize your page. The simple interface connects to other social media platforms to help promote your work.

Maintaining your own online store gives you more creative control and direct customer contact. There are no marketplace rules about what you can sell or commission and processing fees. However, it’s up to the seller to attract web traffic. Shopify requires more daily updates, but it also puts you in the driver’s seat.

Choosing a Site That’s Right for You

Launching a website and sharing your work with the world can be both frightening and exhilarating. With the endless online marketplaces to choose from, you can easily become overwhelmed or discouraged. Before joining a community, take time to consider what it is you hope to achieve and which platform is the best vehicle to get you there.

If you feel lost, seek out other artisans to discuss their first hand experiences with these sites. There are many online messaging boards and communities of artists facing the same questions and concerns. Once you have chosen which site to use to sell your arts and crafts, you are only clicks away from becoming a legitimate online retailer.

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