Jan. 31, 2022

Creating a Healthy Home by Making the Right Positive Changes

The following article was written by guest contributor, Katie Conroy:


If you want to create a healthy home, making the right positive changes is essential. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are some points to consider that make choosing projects easier.

Projects That Improve Your Experience at Home


If you feel overwhelmed and stressed at home, the first project you might want to take on is decluttering. For one, it’s completely free. For another, eliminating excess stuff can reduce stress, lower the amount of time you need to spend cleaning, and make it easier to stay organized moving forward. If you aren’t sure how to begin, give the KonMari Method a try. It’s a straightforward approach that focuses on what brings you joy, ensuring you keep the items that matter to you.


Improving your air quality is also a simple way to experience a real difference in the health of your home. By simply replacing your existing air filters with new ones featuring higher MERV-ratings, you’ll be removing more contaminants, keeping you healthier.


Another great option is remodeling your kitchen. By turning it into a more functional space, you’re more likely to cook nutritious meals at home, making it easier to eat healthily. For this project, you’ll need a licensed and insured plumber. Make sure to check ratings and reviews to find the ‘best plumbing services near me.’ That way, the $45 to $150 per hour you’ll spend for their expertise is worthwhile.


Changes to Make If You’re Considering Selling


For homeowners interested in selling soon, you’ll want to keep buyers in mind when choosing projects. That way, you can address their needs, making your house a more attractive property in their eyes.


For inexpensive options, consider a new coat of paint. You can choose colors that align with trends or that make your home feel brighter or more welcoming. Plus, if you’re willing to DIY the project, it’s a very low-cost way to renew the look of your interior completely.


Another inexpensive option is easy kitchen updates. Simply changing out doorknobs and pulls on your cabinets can transform the room. The same goes for adding a backsplash.


If you have money in the budget for something bigger, consider replacing your windows with modern, low-E windows. You’ll update the look of your home’s interior, enhance your curb appeal, and improve energy efficiency all in one project.


You could also consider other exterior modifications. A new deck, fresh siding, or similar project can ensure buyers get a great first impression when they arrive at your property, potentially leading to more interest and a higher selling price.


How to Pay for Home Updates


Don't default to a personal loan or credit card when you’re trying to figure out how to pay for home updates. While you can technically use them, they don’t necessarily have the best interest rates, which isn’t ideal.


Additionally, while a HELOC may have a lower interest rate, it gives you an extra payment you’ll have to make every month. If tracking your budget already feels challenging, that might not be a great match for you.


Instead, check out cash-out refinancing options. What does it mean to refinance your home is you replace your old mortgage with a new one that has a higher balance, so you don’t end up with an extra payment. Plus, you receive the difference between the two loans as cash, giving you money for your updates.

Image via Pexels


Katie Conroy is a writer at advicemine.com, the opinions and or advice contained in this article are hers and not those of the Flynn Team, or any of its agents or employees. 


Posted in Lifestyles
Nov. 23, 2021

Steps for Buying and Managing Your First Investment Property

The following article was written by guest contributor, Katie Conroy:

Steps for Buying and Managing Your First Investment Property

The reason many cite for wanting to get into the world of property investment is simple: passive income. And there’s good reason to believe it: in 2016, the average gross yield was 9.4%, far higher than the 4% to 5% average stock market return. Still, there are plenty of potential pitfalls. Here are some steps the Flynn Team recommends you consider before diving in:

Get Your Finances in Order

Generally speaking, you want to be free of any financial debt or obligation aside from possibly a mortgage. That means student or car loans, credit card debt, and the like need to go.

Finance or Pay in Cash?

When you go to purchase your investment property, the most pressing decision is whether to pay in cash or finance the purchase. Some financial advisors, such as Dave Ramsey, say that under no circumstances should you go into debt to buy rental properties. Others, like Robert Kiyosaki, believe debt in this kind of circumstance is okay. A good compromise? Don’t begin until you've paid off all debt aside from a mortgage and have put approximately six months' worth of principal, interest, taxes, and insurance payments into a savings account.

Features of Profitable Properties

Knowing the community you’re thinking of investing in is key. Some aspects to consider include:

  • Livability and amenities: Is the location miles from the nearest grocery store? What about shopping, dining, and entertainment options? 

  • Vacancy rates: An area with a high vacancy rate is a definite red flag.

  • Property taxes: This is money that won't be recouped, so it’s important to know how much is going out each month.  

You might also find it helpful to consult an analysis of where the highest-grossing rental markets are located, such as ATTOM Data’s 2020 study. If you’re purchasing in Long Island, the Flynn Team will tell you everything you need to know about the area you’re interested in.

Multifamily versus Single-Family Homes

Single-family homes can be a good place to begin, since they’re generally more affordable than multi-family homes (those with multiple units under different ownership, such as condos and duplexes). There are also more of them. Historically, single-family homes appreciate more than multi-family buildings. On the other hand, if improvements are needed in a multi-family home and can greatly increase the income, you stand to increase the value of your multi-family property. Returns may also be greater.

Questions Every Property Investor Should Ask

Despite the potential income to be made from real estate investing, the process can also be expensive and take significant amounts of time. For these reasons, every potential landlord should ask themselves these questions: 

Am I Landlord Material?

Are you handy around the house? Does the idea of hands-on work, such as repairing fixtures or updating materials, sound feasible or torturous? 

Manage Yourself or Outsource? 

If your time is scarce, you might be thinking of turning to a property management company for help; however, the cost may not be feasible unless you have multiple income-producing properties. That’s because most companies ask for between an 8% and 12% share of the income.

Is Property Investing Right for You?

If you’re seriously considering investing in rental properties, take time to go through the steps needed, one at a time, as opposed to rushing in. Although property management can be lucrative, without careful planning it can also be challenging at best and financially disastrous at worst, so don’t rush the process. 


Katie Conroy is a writer at advicemine.com, the opinions and or advice contained in this article are hers and not those of the Flynn Team, or any of its agents or employees. 
Posted in The Market
Feb. 11, 2021

5 Steps to Getting Started as a Real Estate Investor

Source: Unsplash


5 Steps to Getting Started as a Real Estate Investor


If you’re interested in investing in an asset that will bring you significant returns, becoming a real estate investor could be your next step. Because rental payments are often referred to as “passive income,” it’s easy to get the idea that investing in real estate is a simple process. But if you want to find a good property and land the right tenants, you need a smart strategy. The experts at the Flynn Team hope the following guidelines will help you purchase your first investment property. 


Getting Your Business Started


Once you’ve decided to start your own rental property business, you’ll need to decide what type of business entity you plan to pursue. Most rental property businesses choose to establish an LLC for the legal protection it offers them. You’ll need to fill out paperwork and address any copyrights or trademarks you may require. All that paperwork can get overwhelming, so hire a company that can file all that paperwork for you.


Work With the Right Agent


If you purchased a home for your primary residence, you probably worked with a real estate agent. As an investor, connecting with a qualified agent is a savvy move, but you need to take the extra time to work with an agent who has specific experience with investment properties. An “investor friendly” agent like the experts at the Flynn Team can provide insight on which neighborhoods you should consider, and they might even let you in on some deals that aren’t on the market. 


Smart Budgeting


According to Lendova, you should expect to spend about 20 percent of your property’s listing price on the down payment, but you may secure a better interest rate if you put down 25 percent. 


Remember, your goal is to work within the limitations of your personal budget to find a property that will provide long-term returns on your investment. This can mean renovating a property that has some maintenance problems. Your property may not look aesthetically pleasing when you buy it, but you can transform it into a very desirable rental. 


Make Necessary Repairs


You probably have lots of ideas for renovations and new fixtures for your property. If you want to increase your property’s value, start the renovation process by installing wood flooring. Wood flooring is durable and hardy, and it brings a certain warmth to your property’s interior, which can make a great impression on tenants. Plus, it’s easier to clean and maintain wood floors than carpet, so as the landlord, this option will likely be cheaper for you in the long run!


Market Your Property


Your methods for marketing your property will vary on the location and the kind of tenants you would like to rent to. For example, if you purchased a condo in a downtown area that will attract young professionals, utilize popular rental sites. If you invested in an apartment in a college town, you might also want to hang up some flyers around the local campus. This is also the time to draw up a lease that will protect both you and your future tenants. 


Choosing Tenants


If you set an appropriate monthly rental price in line with comparable properties in your neighborhood, you’ll start hearing from prospective tenants soon. Don’t just select tenants based on a friendly interaction at an open house or private viewing; instead, you should thoroughly screen everyone who applies. You should ask for whatever employment, credit, and income information is allowed by law. It is a good idea to consult with a seasoned real estate attorney and check in with them periodically to see if legal requirements have changed. 


As a first-time real estate investor, you might feel overwhelmed by the process of buying your new rental property, and you’ll have to spend a significant amount of money before you start receiving rental payments. But once your very first tenants are settled in, you’ll be grateful for this valuable asset and the revenue it generates. 

Katie Conroy is a writer at advicemine.com, the opinions and or advice contained in this article are hers and not those of the Flynn Team, or any of its agents or employees. 

Posted in The Market
July 19, 2019

What a Difference a Year Makes for Sellers

Over the last few years, many sellers have been hesitant to put their houses on the market because they feared not being able to find another home to buy.

We’ve reported on inventory shortages in the past, and it’s been a constant concern for potential buyers throughout recent years. New research shows the inventory concern is starting to decrease among potential buyers.

According to First American, the two leading obstacles to homeownership that buyers feel today are Affordability and Limited Inventory. This means the feeling that homes are less affordable has risen, while the fear of limited inventory has decreased, delivering a wealth of good news for sellers.What a Difference a Year Makes for Sellers | Keeping Current Matters

At the same time, over the past 12 months, we’ve seen a steady month-over-month increase in the number of homes coming to market for purchase. In the past, the lack of listings and available inventory slowed down the real estate market. This recent increase in current inventory has many buyers and sellers now thinking it is time to make their move – and rightfully so! For the last two months, we’ve seen over 4 months of inventory become available for sale, a promising number that’s been slowly increasing this year and creating more buying opportunities.What a Difference a Year Makes for Sellers | Keeping Current Matters

To further support the idea of an improving real estate market, Sam Khater, the Chief Economist at Freddie Mac says,

“…In the near-term, we expect the housing market to continue to improve from both a sales and price perspective.” 

Many experts, like Sam, believe the second half of 2019 will drive a stronger market than we saw at the beginning of the year. This is great news for homeowners who have put off getting their houses on the market and are now ready to make a move.

Bottom Line

What a difference we’ve seen over the course of this year! If you’re thinking of selling, now is the time as inventory is on the rise.

Posted in The Market
June 12, 2019

Top Days to List Your Home for Sale [INFOGRAPHIC]


Some Highlights:

  • ATTOM Data Solutions conducted an analysis of more than 29 million single family home and condo sales over the past eight years to determine the top days to list your home for sale.

  • The top five days to list your home brought in a 10% premium over market value and are all in either May or June!

  • “Families start their home search when they know their kids will be out of school and when the weather is ideal for home viewing and moving, giving home sellers an upper hand in price negotiations.”

  • There is still time to list your home before these dates pass you by!

Posted in The Market
May 23, 2019

4 Most Popular Bottom Line Investments in America

Every year, Gallup surveys Americans to determine their choice for the best long-term investment. Respondents are given a choice between real estate, stocks, gold, and savings accounts.

For the sixth year in a row, real estate has come out on top as the best long-term investment! That has not always been the case. Gallup explains:

“Between 2008 and 2010, covering most of the Great Recession period that saw plummeting home and stock values, Americans were as likely to name savings accounts or CDs as the best long-term investment as they were to name stocks or real estate.”

This year’s results showed that 35% of Americans chose real estate, followed by stocks at 27%. The full results are shown in the chart below.

4 Most Popular Bottom Line Investments in America | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Now that the real estate market has recovered, so has the belief of the American people in the stability of housing as a long-term investment.

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Posted in Lifestyles
April 1, 2019

10 Steps to Buying a Home [INFOGRAPHIC]

10 Steps to Buying a Home [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • If you are thinking of buying a home, you may not know where to start.
  • Here is a simple list of 10 steps that you will go through to purchase a home.
  • Make sure to ask your agent for details about each step and what else may be required in your area!
Posted in The Market
March 13, 2019

Betting on the New Big Player in Town, by Mike Flynn


It’s been weeks, or maybe months, and the big announcement you’ve been waiting for has finally come: “XYZ Company” is moving its headquarters to Greenacre. All the experts agree: it will be a “game-changer” for the area, creating new jobs, new commerce and the kind of demand for surrounding real estate that investors and speculators dream of. Time to pay the premium, put up that down payment and get in on the action? As with most questions asked of a lawyer, the answer is an unsatisfying maybe. But we won’t leave you hanging there. As many of you have inferred by now, the “XYZ Company” announcement is inspired by Amazon’s planned HQ2 in Long Island City, which unraveled with alarming speed after Amazon’s executives determined that the political climate was not as favorable as initially thought. We know that there are a lot of people out there who suffered losses as a result of speculative buying in the Long Island City area, and below is a simple (non-exhaustive) list of issues to look out for when deciding on an area to invest or speculate.



Betting on the New Big Player in Town:


Let’s start with the obvious (which was maybe not so obvious a few weeks ago), whenever it is rumored or even “officially” announced that a big new user of space is coming to town, it is tempting to buy around the target area as early on as possible, betting on there being big upside when other users come flocking to the area to supply housing for new employees, restaurants, and other goods and services needed by all the new workers and residents in the area. The problem with getting in early, is that unlike stocks, bonds or any other number of easil