Frustrated by Bathroom Clutter? 4 Great Organizational Tools

We ask quite a bit of our bathrooms, requiring that they store all of our personal care items. Hairstyling products, makeup, shaving tools, and more usually fill our drawers and closets, ensuring we have easy access to all of the items we need to get ready for work, leisure activities, and bed. But with so many small items to organize, bathrooms can quickly become cluttered, making it impossible to find the items we need.

The key to avoiding a mess is to set up a way to organize everything from the start. When your drawers and cabinets are set up correctly, you won’t find yourself piling items on top of each other. This means fewer spills and more free time, since you won’t have to dig through everything to find the items you need. Here are some great organizational tools that can help put your bathroom in order.

Hanging Shower Organizer

These organizers hang from your shower head, offering compartments for everything you need while showering. Your shampoos, soaps, shaving supplies, and washcloths can hang from these organizers. Even if your shower has shelves, these organizers can add more storage to your shower area for those small things you need in there. Plus, shower organizers are made of metal with plenty of space below your bottles to allow them to breathe. This means the mildew that tends to build up under bottles on shelves won’t be present.

Rethink Your Medicine Cabinet

Despite its name, the medicine cabinet is actually better suited to grooming items than pills. One reason is that the moisture in a bathroom can be bad for medicine, making the kitchen a better place for it. Stock your medicine cabinet with essentials you use at the sink every day, including tweezers, combs, and shaving supplies. Some medicine cabinets can be limited in their depth, so you may find you can’t store everything you would want to, but try to make the most of the space by storing all of the items that will fit.

Baskets and Trays

The biggest problem with bathroom storage is that many of the items can easily leak. This creates a mess that even shelf liners can’t prevent. One extra layer of protection can be found in baskets and trays, which hide clutter on open shelves and create handy storage compartments for your toiletries. Just as your silverware organizer keeps your forks and knives separated in the kitchen, your bathroom compartment trays can keep your makeup, nail polishes, and grooming tools in easy-to-access areas.

Under-Counter Organizers

The area under your sink provides prime storage space, but it can be difficult to fully utilize the vertical space it provides. Under-counter organizers can help you stack your items in multiple layers to maximize the available space. You can choose from a variety of styles to match your décor.

If your bathroom seems to always be messy, think about adding space through the use of organizational supplies. Your cabinets and drawers will remain clean and you’ll keep your countertops clear and clutter-free.

How Homeowners Associations Can Affect Your Long-Term Expenses

Every home comes with extra costs, like property taxes, insurance, and maintenance fees. But when you buy into a condominium, townhouse complex, or gated community that’s governed by a homeowners association (HOA), you and other residents are also financially responsible for maintaining the common areas. This additional regular fee is compulsory for all homeowners, and also covers the costs associated with general maintenance, landscaping, and security.

Communities governed by an HOA can be advantageous in that they’re intended to protect the value of properties within the neighborhood and uphold a certain level of integrity. But if you’re not careful, you could wind up having your long-term expenses negatively affected. Of course, if you do the research necessary on the HOA of the community you’re looking into buying, you can do plenty to save yourself a lot of money in the near future.

HOA Basics

What exactly are HOAs all about? Basically, these are organizations in a planned community, condominium, or subdivision that enforces rules for the properties under its authority. The fees that are collected from homeowners are put towards upkeep of common areas like pools, parks, tennis courts and elevators. HOA fees can cost homeowners anywhere from $200 to well over $600 per month, depending on the location and amenities provided. The more well-to-do the building, and the more amenities it has, the higher the HOA fees.

HOAs can also enforce certain restrictions on the properties, which can include anything from the type of landscaping that can be done to the color of the front door. If you want to do anything different than what the rules state, you’ll have to convince the HOA to give you a variance, which is unlikely to happen.

HOA Fees Could Increase if Reserves Are Depleted

Just about every neighborhood will eventually have a lot of expenditures related to maintaining the integrity of the properties. An HOA should have the funds necessary to pay for these items by accumulating reserves. However, there may be times when the scope of the project could require additional money.

Sometimes a reserve fund might not even exist. Special assessments are additional funds needed to work on a project or outstanding debt that wasn’t part of the initial budgeted HOA fee. And if these are needed, this could place an unexpected financial burden on you and the rest of the homeowners in your HOA complex.

If a new roof or a major elevator repair is necessary, and there’s not enough money in the reserve fund, an extra assessment could be charged to homeowners to pay for these expenses, which can cost thousands of dollars.

Buyers Must Understand the Need to Comply With Rules of the HOA When Moving In

The covenants, constrictions, and restrictions that come along with owning an HOA-governed property are initially intended to serve the community. However, many times they can be overly restrictive to some home buyers. There are plenty of limitations that could infringe on a person’s lifestyle, such as those that dictate the type of improvements you can make on your home and even whether or not you are allowed to own any pets.

While these might sound outright prohibitive, these rules are meant to protect the values of properties for individual homeowners in the neighborhood and create a nice community environment. Before you buy a home that’s subject to HOA rules and costs, you’d be well advised to find out exactly what you’re in for.

Pay special attention to the fines for not complying with these rules: certain HOAs can put you into foreclosure as a result of non-payment of accrued fines from violation of covenants, conditions, and restrictions. If you think the rules are far too restrictive for your taste, consider buying elsewhere.

Look Into How the HOA is Governed and its Financial Health

Every individual HOA will govern its communities in a different way. While it’s common for the association to be made up of building residents who’s positions are voluntary in nature, it’s also common for other complexes to hire on-site managers. No matter how the HOA is governed, it’s important to research how well the HOA is run, and what the health of the complex you may be looking into is like.

A real estate agent experienced in HOAs will be able to educate you on the terms of the HOA and compare fees for the complex you’re considering. Appropriate monthly HOA fees should comfortably cover regular monthly operating costs, as well as contribute to a reserve fund. If there’s not enough in these reserve funds, you could be facing much higher fees in the future if a major repair needs to take place.

An excellent real estate agent with plenty of experience will be able to arm you with all of the info you need to make the right decision. While there could be detriments to your finances as a result of a bad HOA, owning an HOA-governed home definitely can have its perks. Making sure that it makes sense financially and fits your specific lifestyle is critical. If you’re working with a Realtor, making the best decision will be a cinch.

Use ‘Smart’ Technology to Control Your Home – Even When You’re Not There

You’d have to be living under a rock not to have noticed how much technology has taken over every aspect of our lives. But technology isn’t just about waiting for the next generation of smart phones and tablets to come out: it can also play a key role in helping you save energy in your home, and ultimately save you money.

Consider adding these ‘smart’ features to your home to make it as energy-efficient as possible, with minimal effort.

Programmable Thermostats

With manual thermostats, you have to physically set the thermostat every time you want to adjust the temperature. While this can work when you’re around, what about when you’re not? What happens when you turn the temperature up before going to bed, but then forget to turn it down before heading off to work?

By installing a programmable thermostat, it’ll be a lot easier to control your heating system, even when you’re not home. These smart devices work automatically: set it once, and it’ll continue to change the temperature according to your settings.

Set it to turn down the heat before bed, then back up in the morning so it’s comfortable when you get up to get ready for work. You can then set it to turn down after you head out, then turn back up just before you get home so you walk into a comfortable home. There’s no sense in heating an empty home – this just wastes energy and your hard-earned cash.

Remote-Controlled Window Shades

Window shade control is another great way to control the temperature in your home, saving you both energy and money. Windows tend to be one of the weakest links in a home when it comes to energy loss.

With remote-controlled blinds, you can control them depending on the time, the sun’s strength and even its position. Android- and iOS-controlled blinds are also available, allowing you to raise and lower them from your mobile phone when you aren’t even home. No matter where you are, you can easily manage your home’s heat and light by adjusting your window shades.

Lighting Control 

How many times have you forgotten to turn off a light somewhere in the house, only to realize it’s been on all day or all night, wasting precious energy? Forgetting to flick one simple switch can wreak havoc on your energy bill.

Nowadays, “smart lighting” options are available to homeowners, allowing you to control your lighting from a mobile device or computer. Even dimming your lights can drastically cut down on energy loss. At the touch of a button, you can create ambience while saving energy at the same time by turning on specific lights and dimming them to the desired level.

Centrally Control Your Home’s Energy

You can literally put your home into hibernate mode with some of the technological systems that are available today. Pressing one little button can put your house to sleep, and cut off power to all those energy-sucking gadgets that we tend to forget about.

From computers, to DVD players, to appliances, you can put any power-draining objects on standby. You can even turn off any unused electrical sockets in your home to make it safer for children, then turn them on only when you need them again.

Fiber-Optic Internet Technology

When it comes to energy efficiency, fiber-optic technology is a ‘green’ alternative to typical coaxial copper wires that are used for computers and internet hook-up. It lasts longer, and is even safer to the touch because these cables generate less heat.

Considering the increase in number of smart gadgets in use at the same time in your home, you may have noticed a significant drain on your broadband internet connection. Fiber-optic technology offers faster internet speeds, which means you can have more smart devices in your home working simultaneously with no effect on your online experience.

Technology just keeps getting smarter and smarter. Considering how much more convenient it can be to control many aspects of your home’s energy use and how much money you can save on utility bills, it just makes sense to employ at least one of these smart features.

The Minimalist Approach: Less is More in Home Decor

It’s much better to have a few quality items than a bunch of junk. This is what the minimalist approach in home decor is all about. Forget about cramping your space with a ton of little items – instead, adding a handful of stylish pieces can say a lot more than lots of little knick-knacks.

Paring down on things in your home can make the space feel more open and breathable. While you don’t exactly have to eliminate everything down to the bare bones, consider the following tips to creating a space that’s comfortable, sophisticated, and easy to take care of.

De-Clutter

Getting rid of overcrowded items sounds like a no-brainer, right? But it’s usually the first step in achieving the trendy minimalist approach in interior design. Certain spaces in the home tend to be easy targets for clutter, such as the dining room, kitchen and living room.

Unopened mail spread all over the dining table, and magazines on the coffee table can make a space look smaller. Clearing the clutter and replacing it with one attention-grabbing piece, such as a seasonal arrangement or tall glass vase, can do wonders for creating a simple yet chic look.

White is More Expressive Than You Think

While white walls might be immediately associated with hospitals and doctor’s offices, this neutral shade is making a comeback in the world of home interior design. Accent walls and punches of bright hues may have been the trend a few years ago, but these days, simple white has found its place in decor.

A white backdrop has the power to highlight certain aspects of your home – such as antique pieces or hand-scraped hardwood flooring. It acts as the perfect canvas upon which you can display all of your finishes, furnishings, and other decor that you want to focus on in your home.

Group Like-Objects Together

Rather than splitting up similar objects, group them together instead. For instance, assemble a few mirrors together on a vacant space on your wall, or cluster glass vases together on your window sill.

Arranging objects in this manner can do wonders for pulling a room together. Just make sure that you don’t overcrowd the area – the key is finding that sweet spot between too little and too many.

Tone Down the Lighting

Task lighting is important in certain space to help focus on what you’re doing, such as in the kitchen when preparing meals. But such lighting has a tendency to create harsh shadows.

To counter this effect, mixing up your lighting can help add a softer ambience to the space that’s conducive to minimalist decor. Ambient lighting that’s non-directional, such as pot lights with dimmers or lamps with soft halogen bulbs, can help to bring warmth to a space.

Be Careful With Your Accessories

It’s easy to overcrowd a room with an over-abundance of accessories. But when it comes to a minimalist decorative approach, less is more. When accessorizing a space, it’s better just to have a handful of striking pieces than a lot of small objects, which will do nothing more than clutter the space. How you use accessories in your home can mean the difference between cozy and cramped.

The Bottom Line

As the saying goes, quality is more important than quantity. This rings especially true when it comes to achieving a minimalist style in your home. It’s practical, simple, and even more affordable. Keep the above suggestions in mind while paring down each room in your home to get back to basics.

 

You CAN Afford to Renovate Your Kitchen! Here’s How…

Your kitchen cabinets are totally outdated, and the peeling vinyl countertops are nothing but an eye-sore. It’s time for a kitchen overhaul, but how exactly are you going to come up with the funds to pay for it?

 

Instead of dreaming about a new kitchen, make it happen with these financing strategies.

Tap Into Your Home Equity

Probably one of the easiest and cheapest ways to finance a kitchen remodel is to use the equity you’ve already built in your home. A home equity loan gives you the total amount of money up front to pay for the work that needs to be done all in one shot. After the money is taken out, it’s paid back in monthly installments.

This type of loan is not unlike a regular credit card: just take out the amount of cash you need, and pay back what you’ve used. The only difference is that the interest charged on a home equity loan is much lower than that of a typical credit card.

A new kitchen usually adds value to your home, which means you’ll actually be putting more equity into it my improving it. Depending on the extent of work being done, you could boost your home’s value up to 75% of the amount of money spent on the job.

Use Contractor Financing

Many contractors offer financing for work that they do. After an initial deposit is put down, the remainder of the money is paid back in installments over a specified length of time. Ideally, the contractor should be giving you a detailed invoice a number of times throughout the remodel process.

Never pay a contractor in full up front for work that hasn’t been done yet. While the contractor is most likely an honest person, there are still shady people out there who have no problems scamming their unsuspecting clients and bailing in the middle of the job after they’ve gotten their money. This makes paying in installments an ideal alternative to paying for the work up front in cash.

Take Out a Second Mortgage

In addition to your first mortgage, you could take out a second loan registered against your home, and pay both of them back simultaneously. You’re allowed to borrow up to 80% of what your house is appraised at, minus whatever is left to pay back from your first mortgage. While this is a viable option, you should only consider it if you are certain that the added value to the home is more than the cost of the renovation.

 

Borrow From Pre-Paid Mortgage Payments

Some lenders might let you borrow any money that you’ve already prepaid on your mortgage. For instance, many homeowners may ‘double up’ their monthly mortgage payments when they’ve got a little extra cash to put towards their home loan. Similarly, they may put a lump sum towards the principal at the end of each year if there’s a surplus of money to do so. This money is then added to the principal on your mortgage, which you may be able to borrow against to help fund a renovation.

Take Advantage of a Title I Loan

There’s a program available through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that insures lenders who offer home improvement loans, and is known as the ‘Title I’ program. With this arrangement, you have to pay 1% of the loan amount, up to a maximum of $25,000.

 

Homeowners who don’t have enough equity built up in their homes can take advantage of a Title I loan, which features payment plans and interest rates that are usually affordable for most. Many kitchen renovations would qualify for this kind of loan, but you should still check with a local Title I lender to verify if your particular project does.

The Bottom Line

There are plenty of ways to get your hands on the cash you need to pay for your kitchen renovation. And if the job is done right, you can actually add value to your home, which essentially pays for the work itself. Talk with a trusted realtor to get some pointers about where to focus your renovation to get the most bang for your buck, and boost your ROI.

Is Now the Right Time to Buy? Yes, and Here’s Why

While certain buying decisions can be made on a whim, others require careful consideration. The decision to buy a home is a big one, and is likely the biggest expenditure you’ll ever make in your entire life.

While there are several factors you need to consider before pouncing on a property, now just might be the perfect time to buy – as long as all your ducks are in a row.

Are Your Finances in Order?

Before you start pounding the pavement in search of your dream home, make sure your finances are in good order first. To be able to qualify for a mortgage, your lender is going to want to see that you’re capable of managing your current bills and debts.

You should pay your bills on time and in full – your lender is going to look for this pattern. Your debt-to-income ratio (the percentage of your monthly gross income that goes towards paying off your current debts) should be no higher than 43% – the lower the better.

Even though there are loan programs available that allow you to put a low down payment towards a home, you should still have a cushion of savings to cover closing costs, moving expenses, and a deposit. Saving money and keeping up with a healthy credit score are critical elements to being a home owner.

 

What Can You Afford?

According to the National Association of Home Builders, 62.8% of homes were affordable in the last quarter of 2014. This number is based on families earning the median income of $63,900 with good credit, and 30-year fixed mortgage interest rates.

That’s good news, but of course this may not necessarily suit your specific financial standing. Managing a mortgage takes a certain level of commitment, so make sure you’re ready for the financial responsibility before you buy. Don’t forget about about other home expenses on top of your mortgage, such as home insurance, property taxes, utilities, and regular home maintenance costs.

Consider your plans for the future, and how you’ll be spending your money. A mortgage lender will tell you how much money you can borrow to put towards a home purchase, but how much you spend on other things aside from your mortgage is up to you to determine.

Your best bet is to sit down with a financial advisor to work out all the nitty gritty and crunch some serious numbers to help you determine what you can comfortably afford in a home purchase. From there, you can narrow down your choices during your home search.

 

Mortgage Rates Are Still Near Historic Lows

The rate that your lender offers you plays a huge role in how much you’ll be paying in mortgage payments every month. Obviously, the lower the rate, the less your mortgage payments will be. Rates have been rock bottom for a while now, making this a prime time to lock in.

A 30-year fixed mortgage rate is an ideal option, as it doesn’t put you at risk for any rate fluctuation shocks that may happen in the future. Right now, the 30-year fixed rate is 3.86%, down from 4.23% at the same time last year. The rate for a 15-year fixed rate is currently 3.07%, but a 30-year fixed is a more stable option.

With the current rate trend being the way it is, now is a good time to buy and take advantage of these low rates before they start to rise. Of course, rates could go even lower, but why say “no” to the perfect home in anticipation of this lower rate (which may or may not happen)?

Actually, rates are expected to move higher in the near future. Fannie Mae predicts rates to reach 4.40% by 2016, and Freddie Mac predicts 4.6%. If these predictions are accurate, now sounds like a good time to buy.

 

Forget About Timing the Market

Don’t waste your time trying to time a real estate transaction. You’re not playing the stock market. When you’re on the prowl for a home purchase, circumstances can change all the time.

Instead, do some homework, get your finances in order, figure out what’s affordable for you, be realistic, and start looking. Don’t buy the a property just because you want to take advantage of low rates or low prices.

Basically, the best time to buy a house is when you can actually afford to do so. Forget about predicting an increase in home values or when mortgage interest rates are set to climb. Unless you have a crystal ball, these figures are nearly impossibly to accurately forecast. If you find the perfect home, and you can comfortably afford it, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t buy it.

Regardless of what type of market it happens to be at the time of your purchase, you can make it happen. Team up with a realtor and mortgage specialist to help you weight your options, and to ensure you’re making an informed and healthy purchasing decision.

4 Celebrities Who Live Surprisingly Frugal Lives

At the peak of their fame, celebrities make millions of dollars per project. With all of that money rolling in, they can’t possibly have a care in the world. They can buy whatever they want whenever they want, handing over a credit card and having a financial manager handle the bills.

But celebrities aren’t all that different from us. Many of them are all too aware that as fast as fame can come, it can disappear. Even though some of them have been in the limelight for decades, they still find ways to pinch pennies. Here are some ways top stars prove frugality isn’t limited to the middle and lower classes.

Coupon Clipping

She may be the voice of one of the highest-grossing films of all time, but actress Kristen Bell doesn’t spend more than she has to on groceries. The new mom, who has previously talked about her penchant for coupon clipping, will likely be able to put her savings savvy to use on buying diapers and baby food in the coming months. But Bell’s favorite coupons are the ones that come from Bed Bath & Beyond, which promise such great savings, she sometimes steals them from her neighbors’ mailboxes.

Tiny Home Living

He may play the son of wealthy parents on Mad Men, but actor Vincent Kartheiser once lived in a 580 square foot cabin in Hollywood. Kartheiser enjoyed being creative with the small space, working with designer and builder Funn Roberts to find a way to make the most of each square foot. He put the tiny home up for sale in 2014 in order to find a slightly larger place to accommodate himself and his new wife Alexis Bledel.

Smart Budgeting

It’s probably no surprise that Zooey Deschanel enjoys scouring thrift shops for new items to add to her wardrobe. It may be surprising, however, to learn that she lives on only a small fraction of her monthly salary. During her 2012 divorce, the actress’s budget smarts were revealed in paperwork that showed she owns two businesses, bringing her $95,000 each month in income. Of that earnings, Deschanel spends only 30 percent.

Browsing Sales Racks

Despite being an Academy Award-winning actress and former Bond girl, Halle Berry still isn’t confident her career will keep going. In 2006, Berry admitted that one of her biggest fears is that one day she could lose everything. “I save a lot because I’m always worried about when this trip is going to stop,” the actress said. In addition to avoiding blowing her hard-earned money on fancy cars and flashy jewelry, Berry has admitted to frequenting sales racks and looking for great deals. Like many frugal celebrities, Berry grew up watching her mom struggle to raise her kids as a single mom.

These frugal stars show that not everyone lives the lifestyles we see on shows like The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Even celebrities with millions of dollars in the bank fear the money could someday stop rolling in and as a result, they do what they can to set money aside in case that happens.

How Can You Tell if This is the Right Neighborhood For You?

Location, location, location. It’s the crux of real estate. But when it comes to buying a home in a new neighborhood, there are other factors to consider in addition to the location itself.

If you’re planning on sticking around your new neighborhood for the long haul, or want to raise a family in a good area, you’d be well-advised to do some homework and research on the community you’re contemplating. A bunch of factors go into figuring out of the desirability of a specific house and the community it’s in.

So how do you know if the neighborhood you’re looking at is right for you?

 

Ownership Rates Are High

Neighborhoods that have a much higher proportion of owners compared to renters are considered much more stable. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, such as the high percentage of renters in downtown New York City or San Francisco. But for the most part, if the neighborhood you’re looking at features more owners than renters, it’s a good sign of a stable area.

Not only that, but owners tend to take better care of their properties. After all, they own them, and obviously have a much higher vested interest in the properties. Your realtor will be able to provide you with these types of stats for areas you’re looking at.

Properties That Retain Their Market Value

Certain neighborhoods hold home value better than others, which was evident during the most recent housing crash. Areas where property values remained relatively stable during these trying economic times are more likely the types of areas you want to call home.

 

Even if you plan on living there forever and have no intention of selling for a profit, it’s still nice to be able to build equity in your home from appreciation alone. You can find information like this from historical sale prices from your county’s tax records office, or else your realtor will be able to provide you with such important info.

It’s a Decent Commute to Work

Houses that are situated nearby major city centers and big employers are in high demand. Especially these days, younger professionals are a lot less likely to want to drive far to work compared to previous generations. The closer the neighborhood is to these business hubs, the better.

Neighborhood Schools Are Rated High

If you have kids, you want to make sure the school within your district is a good one with a healthy reputation. The local school district is typically an important factor to consider when purchasing a house.

Even if you don’t have kids, schools make a big difference for many buyers, who will be more likely to pay more to get into the best school district. This will be a vital factor if you plan on selling some time in the future.

 

Public Transit is Readily Available

If you can easily and quickly get to a bus stop or subway line, thats good news. Properties with easy access to public transit are generally more valuable compared to those that are not. Among the many factors that are considered when determining a property’s value, proximity of public transit is one of them.

In fact, properties within half a mile of high-frequency public transit routes and stops are worth an average of 42% more. But don’t pick a home that’s too close to these routes – homes that are beside train tracks can actually lose value instead. No one wants to live beside noisy trains or buses.

Home and Neighborhood Improvements Are Noticeable

If you see homes being renovated or even rebuilt, that’s a good sign of a healthy neighborhood. Home owners that are investing a lot of time and money into their properties show that they value their neighborhood, and so should you. And if the city is pouring in money into improvements – such as new sidewalks, trees, etc – that’s also a good sign of a neighborhood that’s nowhere near close to heading south in value.

Your home is purchase is a big one, so you want to make sure you do your due diligence and scope out the area you plan on buying in before you fork over the big bucks. There are tons of signs that the neighborhood is perfect for you to plant some roots. To take things a step further, tap into the experience and knowledge of your real estate agent to find out if the community you’re considering moving into is the right one.

Fix-and-Flip, or Complete Tear Down? How to Tell the Difference

We’ve all seen those programs on TV showing investors buying shabby homes, fixing them up a little, then flipping them for a big profit. The truth is, you can realistically do the same thing yourself, as long as you’re willing to invest a little time, sweat and equity.

However, not all fixer-uppers are created equal. While some may offer good value, others simply won’t. The trick is to spot the properties that have great potential to be moneymakers, and which ones will just sink your capital.

Here’s a rundown of the common types of fixer-uppers to help you distinguish between the ones worthy of your effort and cash, and the ones you shouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.

Profitable Fixer-Uppers

The type of house that you want to focus on has everything it should, but some extensive remodeling and renovating are needed to bring the house up to snuff and appease the masses of buyers. Some homes require some simple cosmetic fixes, which can be done easily and affordably while still garnering a decent profit. A new paint job, refinished flooring, new lighting, resurfaced kitchen cabinets, new appliances, and some landscaping can go a long way to turning an ugly duckling into a real gem.

Other properties are little uglier, and go a step beyond the typical cosmetic fixer. It’s this type of property that can really boost your ROI.

If you happen to stumble on an opportunity like this and can snag it at a decent price, there’s some good coin to be made. It’ll take more time and commitment compared to the cosmetic fixer-upper, but the financial rewards will be well worth it at the end. This is the type of home the average buyer will overlook simply because of all the work that needs to go into it. But when you flip for a much heftier price, you can really pad your wallet.

The ugly fixer-upper will have the following telltale characteristics:

Solid structure – You don’t have to go so far as to repair the foundation, which is a job you don’t want to get into. Instead, the bones of the house should be solid. It’s just a matter of improperly used construction that requires some straightforward upgrading.

Disgusting doors – Whether the previous owners owned 14 cats, were chain smokers, or liked to cook brussell sprouts for dinner every night, nasty smells will totally turn off the average home buyer. But your goal is to appeal to buyers as much as you can to get the highest selling price, and therefore boost your return on investment. Getting rid of these smells can be as easy as ripping out old carpets, repainting the walls, and replacing all the window treatments, which are typical components of a home that tend to retain these odors.

 

Lots of small rooms – Older homes tend to have a bunch of small rooms that do nothing more than chop up the space and make it seem closed-in. By knocking down a few walls (as long as they’re not load-bearing, or else you’ll need to put a column in their place), you can dramatically open up the space and make it seem much more bright and airy. An open concept is highly sought after among buyers these days.

Old-fashioned kitchens and bathrooms – These two rooms – especially the kitchen – are the most important in a house when to comes to established perceived value. An outdated kitchen will do little to appeal to buyers. While upgrading the kitchen will probably be the biggest expense, it can also gives you the biggest return. The same thing goes for an outdated bathrooms. There are so many affordable ways to upgrade this small space that can all be helped by a few trips to your local home improvement store.

 

Zero curb appeal – The exterior of a home is the first thing a home buyer will see when they pull up to it. An ugly front door, severely cracked driveway, peeling roof shingles, overgrown weeds, and lack of greenery can turn a buyer off. But with a new door, new mailbox, new roof, refaced driveway and fresh landscaping, you can easily create fabulous curb appeal to boost the property’s value.

Tear-Downs

While your first two options can bring you a decent return, a total tear-down most likely won’t. These are the types of projects that should be left to developers. If there are massive problems with the structure and foundation of the home, you’ll most likely be getting yourself into hot water. Don’t let the cheap price tag of the property lure you in. The money you’ll have to spend completely renovating or even ripping the home down to erect a new one will most likely cost you a lot more than what you’ll get back when you sell.

 

Any severe shifting in the foundation or structural issues that are far too expensive to fix will do nothing but eat up your investment. If there was any previous work that doesn’t adhere to current building codes, you could be spending a lot more time trying to rectify the situation.

Tear-downs might also have complicated sewer and drainage issues, major problems caused by natural disasters, soil erosion near or around the house, and even severe asbestos or mold problems. These are issues that you want to avoid like the plague.

 

Fixing and flipping is still a fabulous way to make a sizable profit, but the key is finding the perfect property. It’s crucial to keep your eyes peeled for the type of fixer-upper a home is when you’re looking around. Do yourself a favor and work alongside a real estate agent who has experience finding profitable right fixer-uppers so you can avoid landing yourself in a money pit.