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12 Clever Holiday Decor Storage Hacks

Don’t let tangled lights and disorderly ornaments dampen your holiday spirit. Give yourself the gift of organized holiday decor with these 12 creative and budget-friendly storage solutions.


Apples to Ornaments

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Forgo an expensive, compartmentalized ornament box by stashing round ornaments in plastic apple containers. Blogger Laura Russell of Make Life Lovely says they take up less space than the ornaments’ original boxes and are a great way to reuse plastic that otherwise gets tossed.


Eggs-celent Ornament Storage

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Tiny round ornaments fit perfectly in reusable egg cartons. Save your cartons from the trash to save your precious ornaments from breaking with this clever idea from Laura Russell of Make Life Lovely.


Tie Up Loose Ends

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All that leftover ribbon from presents received and given? Snatch up loose bits and fold them neatly in a shoebox for instant color-coordinated gratification. Bonus: Easily spot the color you need for next year’s gifting. This holiday hack courtesy of blogger Jenny Dix of The Contemplative Creative.


That’s a Wrap

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Tired of untangling holiday light strands year after year? Wrap them around cardboard like Kim Christensen of A Real-Life Housewife has done here. Cut cardboard to size (think shoe box tops) and store them inside one box for groan-free tree trimming.


Wreaths on a Rack

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Instead of stuffing artificial wreaths in plastic tubs, keep your wreaths fresh, untangled and ready for the next season using a coat rack. Blogger Karen Way of Sew Many Ways shows how to achieve the ultimate in wreath organization with hangers, plastic bags and labeled boxes to hold wreath decorations.


DIY Holiday Ornament Box

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Ornament organizers can be pricey, but not if you go this do-it-yourself route from Author and Blogger Jill Nystul of One Good Thing By Jillee. All you need is a plastic bin, red plastic cups, cardboard and a glue gun. Cut cardboard to fit inside the bin, glue on plastic cups, drop ornaments into cups and voilá! An inexpensive and clever ornament solution.


Hang It Up

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Grab a see-through garment bag for this clever storage solution that keeps wrapping paper dust-free and easily accessible. This idea makes you wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Good thing The Chic Site with Rachel Hollis did!


Rolling Wrapping Station

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Can you guess the ordinary object that stars in this extraordinary storage idea? Inspired by a magazine, Christina Roy of 2 Little Hooligans turned a kitchen stool upside down, added caster wheels and tied on fabric bags for a truly repurposed wrapping station. Make your own with her DIY tutorial.


Decorative Wall Rack

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Seems a shame to stick pretty papers and ribbon behind closed doors after the holidays. Turn your trimmings into year-round decor with this do-it-yourself wrapping paper and ribbon display from Interior Designer Alissa Ditta. Learn to make this wall rack that feels right at home in a craft room.


Bottled Bead Garland

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Curtail beaded garland tangles with an everyday plastic water or soda bottle. You might think the beads would get stuck, but they easily slide out when you tip the bottle over. Got kids? This storage solution doubles as a festive noisemaker.


Easy Cart Storage

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Bows, tissue paper, gift boxes, oh my! Instead of tossing these in a box (where they’ll surely get smashed), repurpose a rolling cart. Blogger Whitney Mier of This Little House of Mine chose the IKEA Raskog utility cart for her quick and easy wrapping station.


Pretty Packaging

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Corral wrapping paper with this easy DIY wastebasket transformation from Crystal Sixta of My Blissful Space. A coat of spray paint gives any design-challenged trash bin a new life as a holiday organizer. Plus, this bin is portable when it’s time to wrap gifts.


35 Ideas for Easy Thanksgiving Decorating

Chalk Painted Pumpkins

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Thankful Tree Leaves

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Autumnal Place Setting

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Pomegranate Centerpieces

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DIY Leaf Table Runner

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Door Greeting

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Wheat Horseshoe Wreath

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Fall Mantel

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Thanksgiving Tablescape

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Pumpkin Bucket Centerpiece

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Wishbones

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Fall Mason Jar Vases

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Get Crafty with DIY Napkin Holders

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Book Pumpkin

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Asian Pear Arrangement

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Fall Greetings

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Kids Table

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Put Your Stamp On Cocktail Napkins

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Box Grater Luminaries

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Mason Jar Fall Luminary

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White Pillar Candles

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The Thankful Tree

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Gourd Candlesticks

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Gilded Fruit Centerpiece

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Homespun Crafts

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Give Thanks Wreath

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Sweet Send-Off

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Squirrel and Acorn Garland

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Pinecone Door Hanging

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Crabapple Arrangement

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Corn Husk Wreath

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Go Beyond the Vase

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Give Centerpieces a New Home

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Words of Thanks

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Family History

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What are a couple of your favorite ideas here? Will you be trying any of these? We just love the “Thankful Tree” and the “Fall Mantel”!

Comment below with your favorites and don’t forget to share!

 

 

 

 

Not All Home Improvements Are Created Equal. These Will Reward You The Most When It Comes Time To Sell.

Dreaming of stainless this and marble that, with a dash of hip color? Sloooow down. See what your wallet has to say first. Some projects will protect your dollars more than others, especially if you’re planning to sell in a few years.

How do we know? Since 2002, a trade magazine for contractors and builders called “Remodeling” has been tracking common home improvement projects and how much of the cost of each project is recouped when the home sells.

We sifted through years of past results and aggregated the numbers to get an idea of what projects made the most of your dollars year after year. Then we overlayed that background with the data from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’ “Remodeling Impact Report” to determine current project costs and the cost recovery percentage, and to get some other fun facts, such as how satisfied homeowners are with the projects when finished.

They also have a few things in common. The projects are:

  • Low-maintenance
  • Good — but not necessarily the highest — quality
  • Energy-efficient
  • Not too costly

These projects are the best long-term remodeling investments you can make:

1. Replacing Your Front Door

Your faithful front door works tirelessly — day in and day out — to usher in you and your guests, and to seal your house up tight. But when Old Faithful gets tired and worn out, don’t hesitate to call in a replacement. Year in and year out, replacing your old front door with a new steel door is a project that kicks up curb appeal and yields the best payback.

“It gives you the best bang for your buck in terms of transforming the look and feel of your home,” says Brandon Erdmann, president of the remodeling firm HomeSealed Exteriors in Milwaukee. “Plus, old exterior doors can be a huge source of energy loss. So you’re improving the look of your house, improving energy efficiency, and you’re able to do it without breaking the bank.”

It’s also a relatively low-cost project. According to the “Remodeling Impact Report,” a new steel front entry door has a national median cost of $2,000 installed, and can recover 75% of that cost at resale.

2. New Siding

Old, worn siding, along with generally sad curb appeal, can contribute to a loss of up to 10% of your home’s value, according to some appraisers. New siding, on the other hand, practically screams “my owner takes care of me.”
What to choose? Both vinyl and fiber-cement siding are good replacement options.
Vinyl siding is low-cost, durable, and easy to install, and it hits all the right notes when it comes to getting a return on your home improvement dollars. Best of all: It’s a low-maintenance feature that frees up your time.

Today’s vinyl siding includes fade-resistant finishes and transferrable lifetime warranties that are much better than the 10-year guarantees of just two decades ago. There’s good payback, too. According to the “2015 Remodeling Impact Report,” the $12,000 national median cost of a vinyl siding replacement job returns a solid 83% if you should decide to sell your home.

Fiber-cement siding also shows a strong payback of 79% in the “Remodeling Impact Report.” Although its national median cost of $19,100 makes it the pricier option, it has one thing vinyl still lacks — the perception of quality.

And quality matters. In a survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), “quality” was the one of the most important traits that home buyers focused on when shopping for a house. A final word: 100% of homeowners responding to the “Report” said they were happy or satisfied with the result of their fiber-cement siding replacement project.

Related: A Guide to Siding Options

3. Kitchen Upgrade

We’re not talking about the dream kitchen remodels that are plastered on Pinterest and Houzz. But a minor kitchen remodel — one that keeps a lid on costs by refacing instead of replacing cabinets, and includes new flooring, countertops, and modestly priced appliances — is an ever-popular project.

People are always willing to update their kitchens,” says Dale Contant, 2016 president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and owner of Atlanta Build and Design. “It’s the hub of the home.”

Although the ROI on a kitchen update is relatively modest — the “Remodeling Impact Report” says you can expect a return of 67% on the $30,000 national median cost of a kitchen upgrade — you’ll get lasting satisfaction. Eighty-two percent of homeowners said their updated kitchen gave them a greater desire to be at home, and 95% were happy or satisfied with the result.

Related: The Most Popular Style for Kitchens

4. Deck and Patio Additions

Like alfresco living? You’re in good company. According to a 2014 Home Trends Survey from the American Institute of Architects, our love of outdoor living spaces — especially decks and patios — is on the rise.

One big reason is that decks and patios are a sweet way to expand living space at a low cost of $8 to $35 per square foot — a bargain compared to the $150-and-up per-square-foot cost of a new addition.

5. Turning an Attic into a Bedroom

When it comes to romantic rooms, a bedroom retreat is hard to beat. But a treetop boudoir is much more than a daydream — it’s a good investment. You’ll gain living space without having to add on to your home’s footprint — the walls, floor, and ceiling already exist. That helps keep remodeling costs under control.

There are code restrictions you’ll have to navigate when converting an attic to a bedroom, but if your house qualifies and you can cover the cost (about $65,000 says the “Remodeling Impact Report”), chances are you won’t regret your decision. Some 94% of homeowners responding to the “Report” said they were happy or satisfied with their new attic space.

Related: Ideas for Attic Conversions

6. New Garage Door

No surprise that a garage door replacement project made it onto our list of all-time winners — a new garage door provides a big boost for your home’s curb appeal at a relatively modest cost. That’s especially good news if you’re thinking about selling your house.

A project that replaces an older, two-car, embossed steel door has a current cost of about $2,300, according to the “Remodeling Impact Report.” If you sell, you can expect a healthy ROI of 87% on your investment.

There are options galore, too. A host of factory-finish colors, wood-look embossed steel, and glass window insets are just some of the possibilities that’ll give your doors bankable personality.

Related:

11 Affirmations Successful People Repeat Every Single Day

BY JEFF HADEN
 Contributing editor, Inc.

source: http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/11-affirmations-successful-people-repeat-every-day.html?cid=readmore

Image: Getty Images

Accomplishments are based on actions, not on thoughts–yet the thought is always father to the deed. Achievement starts with an idea, a perspective, a point of view, or even just an attitude. (Ideas, perspectives, and points of view like these, for starters.)

Here are some of the things extraordinarily successful people say every day–and how those statements spur them to take actions that lead to even greater success:

1. “I can’t do everything today, but I can take one small step.”

You have plans. You have goals. You have ideas. Who cares? You have nothing until you actually do something.

Every day, we let hesitation and uncertainty stop us from acting on our ideas. Pick one plan, one goal, or one idea. And get started. Take one small step. (For example, here’s how to start a small business while still keeping your full time job.)

The first step is by far the hardest. Successive steps are always easier.

2. “I will do what no one else is willing to do.”

Often the easiest way to be different is to do the things other people refuse to do.

So pick one thing other people won’t do. It can be simple. It can be small. It doesn’t matter. Whatever it is, do it. You’ll instantly be a little different from the rest of the pack.

Then keep going. Every day, think of one thing to do that no one else is willing to do.

After a week, you’ll be uncommon. After a month, you’ll be special. After a year, you’ll be incredible, and you definitely won’t be like anyone else. (And, in the process, you will develop remarkable determination and willpower.)

3. “I will face a fear.”

The most paralyzing fear is fear of the unknown (at least, it is for me).

Yet nothing ever turns out to be as hard or as scary as we think. Plus, it’s incredibly exciting to overcome a fear. You get that “I can’t believe I just did that!” rush, a thrill you may not have experienced for a long time.

Every day, do one thing a little scary, whether physically or emotionally. (If you need a quick boost of confidence to get you going, here are some simple tricks that really work.) Trust that you will figure out how to overcome any problems that arise.

Because you will.

4. “I will appreciate someone unappreciated.”

Some jobs require more effort than skill. Delivering packages, bagging groceries, checking out customers — the tasks themselves are relatively easy. The difference is in the effort.

So do more than say a reflexive “thanks” to someone who does a thankless job. Smile. Make eye contact. Exchange a kind word.

All around you are people who work hard with little or no recognition. Vow to be the person who recognizes at least one of them every day.

Not only will you give respect, you’ll earn the best kind of respect — the respect that comes from making a difference, however fleeting, in another person’s life.

5. “I will listen 10 times more than I speak.”

I used to talk a lot. I thought I was insightful and clever and witty and, well, I thought I was a real hoot. Occasionally, very occasionally, I might even have been one of those things.

Most of the time I was not.

Genuinely confident people (here’s how to tell if you’re one of them) don’t feel the need to talk. While I hate when it happens, I still sometimes realize I’m not talking because the other person is interested in what I have to say but because I’m interested in what I have to say. (Ick.)

Never speak just to please yourself. When you do, you please no one.

6. “I will not care what other people think.”

Most of the time, we should worry about what other people think–but not if it stands in the way of living the lives we really want to live.

If you really want to start a business — which you can do in just a few hours, mind you — but you’re worried that people might say you’re crazy, do it anyway. Pick one thing you haven’t tried because you’re concerned about what other people would think or say and just go do it.

It’s your life. Live it your way.

7. “I will answer the question that wasn’t asked.”

Sometimes people are hesitant. Sometimes they’re insecure. Sometimes they’re shy. Whatever the reason, sometimes people will ask a different question than the one they really want you to answer.

One employee might ask whether you think he should take a few college courses. What he really wants to know is whether you see him as able to grow in your organization; he hopes you’ll say you do and he hopes you’ll share the reasons why.

Your husband might ask if you thought the woman at the party was flirting with him. What he really wants to know is if you still think he’s flirt-worthy and attractive; he hopes you’ll say you do, and he’ll love when you share the reasons why.

Behind many questions is an unasked question.

Pay attention so you can answer that question too — because that is the answer the other person doesn’t just want but needs.

8. “I will be OK with less than perfect.”

Yes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Yes, perfection is the only acceptable outcome. Unfortunately, no product or service is ever perfect, and no project or initiative is perfectly planned. In fact, the quest for perfection can often be your worst enemy.

Work hard, do great work, do your best, and let it go. Your customers and colleagues will tell you what needs to be improved, and that means you’ll get to make improvements that actually matter to people.

You can’t accomplish anything until you let go. Do your best, let go, and then trust that you’ll work hard to overcome any shortcomings.

9. “I will try to do better.”

We’ve all screwed up. We all have things we could have done better. Words. Actions. Omissions. Failing to step up, step in, or be supportive.

Successful people don’t expect to be perfect, but they do think they can always be better.

So think back on yesterday. Think about what went well. Then think about what didn’t go as well as it could have and take ownership. Take responsibility.

And promise yourself that today you will do a lot better.

10. “The one thing I can always do is outwork them.”

Like Jimmy Spithill, skipper of America’s Cup-winning Oracle Team USA, said, “Rarely have I seen a situation where doing less than the other guy is a good strategy.”

You may not be as experienced, as well funded, as well connected, as talented, but you can always outthink, out hustle, and outwork everyone else. The extra mile is a vast, unpopulated wasteland–everyone talks about the extra mile, but few people go there.

Even when everything else seems stacked against you, effort and persistence can still be your competitive advantages–and they may be the only advantages you truly need.

11. “I will stop and smell my roses.”

You have big plans and big goals. And you’re never satisfied, because satisfaction breeds complacency.

Unfortunately, most of the time that means you’re unhappy, because you think more about what you have not achieved, have not done, and do not have. (Of course, the key is to instead do things that make you happy more often.)

Take a moment and think about what you do have, both professionally and especially personally.

At this moment, you have more than you once could ever dream possible.

Sure, always strive for more, but always take a moment to realize that all the things you have, especially your relationships, are more important than anything you hope to have.

Unlike a want, what you have isn’t a hope, a wish, or a dream. What you already have is real.

And it’s awesome. And it’s yours.

Appreciate it.

source: http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/11-affirmations-successful-people-repeat-every-day.html?cid=readmore

7 Tips for Finding a Home as a Couple

source: http://blog.coldwellbanker.com/7-tips-for-finding-a-home-as-a-couple/

Finding a first home can be a roller-coaster of emotion. Here are some tips to make the ride more enjoyable.

Buying a home is a major milestone for couples. Aside from the fact that it will most likely be the most significant purchase they will ever make together it is also one of the most exciting decisions a couple will make too. For those who are new to the process of a buying a home excitement can quickly turn to anxiety as talk of finances, home inspections and new real estate terms make their way into daily conversations. It’s no secret…navigating the world of homeownership together requires some extra work.

For those couples looking to purchase a home, here are seven tips that will ensure a “harmonious house hunt” without rocking the relationship (at least too much that is):

Get pre-approved for a loan. There are few things worse than finding the perfect home, only to find out that it costs more than one can afford. Before beginning the house hunt, we highly recommend getting pre-approved for a loan. A pre-approval will let couples know where they fall financially while informing the mortgage company that they are ready to buy. Additionally, being pre-approved for a loan can help speed up the closing process once an offer has been accepted.

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Set a budget. Beyond income and savings, there are a number of other financial elements to consider before setting a price range for the new home. Once a couple has decided on a location, they should consider its proximity to their family, jobs and schools for children and gauge travel costs. The next step is to add up monthly bills, including the couple’s car payments, phone bills, insurance, groceries, and credit card payments. This total estimated cost of living should be factored into the couple’s overall budget.

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Get on the same page. Whether it is a quiet neighborhood or a two-car garage, everyone has their own “must haves” when it comes to the home of their dreams. For a couple looking for a home to share, it is important to discuss each of their essentials before beginning the search. Keep in mind that agreeing on all of the features of a future home will likely be impossible, so be prepared to compromise. Once the list of “must haves” is finalized, contact a real estate professional who can determine if the expectations are realistic given the homes currently on the market.

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Allocate additional funds. The down payment on a new home is just one of the significant financial aspects of a move.  Even after both people’s belongings are combined there will likely still be a need to purchase furniture and other items like a washer and dryer which will require additional budget. The last thing a couple will want to do is start out their life together with nothing in the bank!

Be patient. A Coldwell Banker Real Estate survey found that women are likely to make up their minds faster than men. Almost 70 percent of women surveyed decided the day they walked into the house that it was right for them, while 32 percent of men needed two or more visits. It will likely take multiple trips to the home before both members of the couple decide it is “the one.” If a spouse needs more time, be patient and try not to pressure them.

Take inventory of everyone’s belongings. Before moving into a new home together, each person should make a list of the furniture they plan to keep and compare it with their partner’s. There may not be a need (or a place) for three televisions and two kitchen tables in the new house. Consider selling unwanted pieces of furniture online, or holding a garage sale.  The money made is sure to be put to good use on purchases for the new home.

Sign a contract. For a couple who has yet to walk down the aisle, it is important to contact an attorney before closing on a home. A contract should be drawn up outlining who is responsible for what expenses and how assets will be divided in the event of a split.

Happy House Hunting!

source: http://blog.coldwellbanker.com/7-tips-for-finding-a-home-as-a-couple/

5 Tips for Moving on a Budget

source: Premeditated Leftovers

by July 17, 2015 by

5 Tips for Moving on a Budget - Here are some tips for moving on a budget, including how to set a moving budget and how to save on moving supplies.

Packing up and moving house can be a stressful life event for any family. Your schedules can be uprooted, your kids may feel uprooted, and no matter what your reasons for moving, you may feel as if you don’t want to do so by the time it’s all said and done. While moving might be a stressful thing, the one thing it does not have to be is expensive. With a little careful planning, your move can be done within your budget to make things a bit easier on your wallet.

5 Tips for Moving on a Budget

Set a Realistic Budget – Obviously before you move, you’ll need to set your budget. Make sure that you take into account things like vehicles, supplies, gasoline and meals on the road if you’re moving move than a few miles. After you’ve done this, it’s only a matter doing your research. After you have your budget number set, go ahead, and pad that number by a couple of hundred dollars at the very least. This will give you a buffer just in case something happens that you weren’t planning on.

Start early – If you know that you’re planning to move, it just makes sense to start planning as early as you can. Doing so will allow you to do more than have a better organized move. It will also allow you to find boxes without having to purchase them, price out moving companies or vehicles and search for any other deals that you may want.

Call around – If you’re planning on renting a moving truck or using a moving company, start calling early to get their best deals. Most rental places actually charge more the closer you are to your moving date so by checking them and by comparing rates, you will find the best deals.

Take advantage of discounts – Most rental companies, moving companies, and supply chains offer multiple discounts for various reasons. If you’re a veteran, you may qualify for a veteran’s discount. Active military can usually qualify too if the military isn’t moving you. Seniors can usually get a pretty decent savings as well. You’ll never know if you don’t ask.

Enlist Your Friends & Family – Know someone who has a truck or van? Offer them a few bucks to help you move instead of paying for a moving truck. Yes, you’re still paying out of pocket, but the cost will be considerably less than paying a moving company or renting a moving truck. Even kids can be a big help! They can pack things like small boxes (be sure that they aren’t packing anything fragile) and can carry small bags and boxes to and from the vehicle.

Moving on a budget is tough for anyone, but if you give it the attention it needs, you can pull it off without too much issue. Just remember to take it slow, get started early and to of course, go for any discount you can find.

Stacy Barr is the face and brain behind the frugal living and personal finance blog, Six Dollar Family. She lives in East Texas with her husband, daughter, 2 cats, and 2 rescued pups that are almost as tall as she is. Stacy loves helping others save and build a better life for themselves as she has done for herself. In her off time, she can frequently be found in front the television making fun of “B” class movies with her hubby, belting out bad karaoke with her daughter, and of course, saving every dime that she possibly can. Find more personal finance tips, tasty recipes and or to learn more about Stacy visit her at www.sixdollarfamily.com

9 Surprisingly Big Benefits of a Smaller Home

From: PTMoney

By

It’s hardly news that downsizing your home will save you money.

In addition to the lowered mortgage payment and taxes, you’ll also spend less on utilities and maintenance.

But living in a smaller house isn’t just a smart financial decision.

Deciding to downsize can also improve your quality of life.

Here are five nine ways that living in a small house has made my life better:

There is so much more to downsizing than just the size of your home! Read these 9 benefits of downsizing and see if making the move to a smaller home is right for your family. This list may convince you it's time to downsize!

 

1. You Have Less to Clean

I’m not known for my housekeeping abilities, but living in a 1,400 square foot house means my lack of a clean gene doesn’t show so much.

I grew up in a 2,500 square foot house, and cleaning was an all-day, all-family affair. It was exhausting even just thinking about it and we didn’t do it as often as my mother would have liked.

Now, I do my cleaning in 15-minute bursts throughout the day, andcleaning the house rarely becomes an overwhelming horror that I avoid. If we had more house, that would mean more rooms to clean and more places for clutter to gather.

2. You Can Improve Your Health

If you have less to clean, you are more likely to do the kind of dust-eliminating deep cleaning that only happens in larger houses if you employ an army of maids. Less dust (and pet hair and dander) means cleaner air and fewer allergic reactions.

In addition, a small house really encourages you to get outside more often. Why stay inside a small space on a beautiful spring day when you could go for a walk or a bike ride?

3. You Become Less Focused on Stuff

Just as a goldfish will grow to fill the size of a bowl it lives in, a regular family’s need for stuff will grow to fit the space it has to fill.

Living in a large house means more rooms to furnish and decorate. But it’s more than that. When you live in a small house, it’s easy browse at stores without buying because you don’t have room for new stuff.

Small living changes how you view making new purchases. In a large house, there’s always room for more, so you might as well indulge.

4. You Have More Free Time

Along with buying less stuff because you have no room for it, you will also avoid the time costs of maintaining all that stuff, as well as the time cost of keeping your large house clean and in good repair.

Living in a small house means that the needs for your home take a smaller bite out of your free time, allowing you to pursue the things in life that you are really passionate about.

5. You Have More Family Time

One of the selling points for big houses is that everyone gets to have his own space. And while I would never want to give up my me-time, I don’t think I need an enormous separate room to have it.

Families in very large houses don’t have to spend time together, because each person has a space to retreat to. When everyone is all thrown together into a small living area, that allows for more fun family time. (It also allows for more squabbles, but isn’t that what family is also about—learning how to handle conflicts?)

Average Square Feet of Homes in US

6. You Optimize Your Space

People will often want a big house for reasons that seem perfectly logical: they need space for overnight guests, or a large dining room for the annual Christmas party, or a restaurant-sized kitchen for when the whole family comes for Grandma’s birthday dinner.

But these kinds of reasons ignore how families actually use their space on a day-to-day basis. You will be much happier using all of your available space the 360 days of the year you do not have overnight guests, parties, or dinner for twelve, rather than having unused space for the majority of the year. It’s better to plan for regular rather than irregular use, since it’s easier to find creative solutions for infrequent problems.

7. You’re More Likely to Know Your Neighbors

Big houses are often on big lots. You can easily wave at your neighbor while you’re both getting in the car in the morning, but it takes a little more effort to actually spend time with them.

Small houses are often set closer together. Spend an afternoon sitting on your porch, and you’ll have the chance to see children playing on the sidewalk, neighbors doing yard work, and the nice couple down the street walking their dog.

It really is easy to be a good neighbor when you don’t have to walk a quarter mile to get there.

8. You Can More Easily Afford the In-Demand Neighborhoods

While every real estate market is different, you can generally count on small houses being more affordable than their big-blueprinted neighbors. That can often translate into a more affordable home in the hot neighborhood with great schools.

9. You’re Reducing Your Environmental Footprint

Small houses consume less energy and use less materials in the building process.

But in addition to these environmental benefits, small houses are also generally built in more walkable areas, which means you don’t have to jump in the car just to get a gallon of milk. And since buying a small house will often mean buying an older home, you will be preserving the environment by not building new—which is the ultimate in recycling.

The Bottom Line

Downsizing isn’t just for empty-nesters or those who bought more house than they can afford. If you live in a big house, think about how downsizing to a small one could improve your life, your relationships, and your bottom line.

Do you ever have the desire to live in a smaller (or bigger) home? Why?

101 Things Everyone Needs to Know About Real Estate Investing

source:RETipster

101 Things Everyone Needs To Know About Real Estate Investing post image

1.Collaborate. Find great team members to help you pull off your overall vision. One person alone can only handle so much (and it limits your education). – Ken McElroy

2. Know your numbers. It is easy to get emotional about a deal, no matter how experienced you are.  If you know your numbers and stick to them, it takes the emotion out of the equation.  This can save your wallet, big-time. – Joshua Dorkin

3. Be fanatical about due diligence. Try to obtain and confirm every bit of information you can about an investment — not just the physical property but the history and potential future of revenue, operating expenses, and capital costs. – Frank Gallinelli

4. Be a Closer Not a Poser. It only takes a moment to tarnish your reputation. You can’t fake it till you make it. If you can’t close, don’t make an offer. – Mark Brian

5. Model your business after those who have already done it. There’s no need to recreate the wheel – just follow the blueprint that others have created. – Joe Fairless

6. Always put it in writing – leases, addendums, amendments, notices, and the most basic of promises, should all be put in writing. Leases are best served as a written contractual document that both parties sign, but email saves time for things like general communication and notices to enter. –Lucas Hall

7. Don’t try to learn everything. Gain as much general knowledge as you need to discover what makes you most excited, then focus on that one thing. For example, if you like the idea of small multifamily properties, focus on that and don’t get distracted by flipping, wholesaling, and other cool strategies. – Brandon Turner

8. Understand how location relates to home values. I have seen numerous buyers purchase properties without understanding the value of various locations. They think they are paying a good price based on square footage, bedroom and bath count, etc. without having a grip on how an area can have a dramatic effect on value. – Bill Gassett

9. Have a clear vision of why you want to be a successful real estate investor, and what your investing business needs to do for you. – Steve Cook

10.Take action. We all have fear when we doing something that pushes us out of our comfort zone.  The only way around fear is to take action and find out there was not much really to be afraid of.   It will be uncomfortable at first, but like anything else, you will become used to it and will most likely get excited about it.  I know it did.  You couldn’t shut me up when it came to seeing houses and making offers. – Danny Johnson

11. Avoid penny-pinching and the scarcity mentality. But definitely set a realistic budget and add to it every chance you get. Outsource as much as possible to maximize your time. Always shoot for a high return on your investment, but please don’t ever expect something for nothing (…ain’t gonna happen). –Jerry Puckett

12. When you pull comps, think in terms of an “apples to apples” approach. If the subject property was not available, would a buyer realistically consider purchasing the comps instead? Moreover, be careful to not choose a random price per sq ft figure and use that to establish your value since the figure might not fit your property. – Ryan Lundquist

13. Choose one investing strategy and master it before moving on to another one.  It’s really easy to get distracted by “shiny object syndrome” and lose your focus. Don’t be tempted to “dabble” in a whole bunch of different strategies when you are just getting started. – Sharon Vornholdt

14. Don’t get emotional. Don’t pass up good deals just because you can’t picture living in them and don’t buy something that you adore if the math doesn’t work. – Debbie Drummond

15. Set actionable goals and activities. How many offers will I make each day, week, month?  That will equate to how many deals I will close each month.  Track your work flow.  Whatever gets measured gets managed. – Mark Podolsky

16. Do NOT start out investing with a plan you constructed on your own. This includes deciding what/when/why/how to buy your first investment property(s). It’s not that you don’t know the answers.It’s that you don’t know all the questions. – Jeff Brown

17. When it comes to saving on taxes and setting up your entities, make sure you get the facts instead of falling victim to some of the common myths that are out there on the internet. – Amanda Han

18. Sit down with someone who invests in real estate (hopefully your own realtor) and ask them questions like, “How many homes have you purchased?” and “What is your primary goal – Buy and Hold or Buy and flip?” Ask them how many times they’ve failed as well. – Connor T. MacIVOR

19. Read a book a month then reach out to the author. My 2nd mentor came from reaching out to the author after I read his book. – Joe Fairless

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20.Focus on cash flow. This is the golden source of income that will drive the value of every other aspect of your real estate business. – Seth Williams

21. In order to be successful in any kind of real estate investment in an emerging market, you need to do some careful analysis, you need a lot of drive and the vision to see what few others can see clearly at that stage. – David Lindahl

22. Don’t worry about the money. Focus on finding the best deal before the money to fund it. Investors invest in deals, not talk and marketing. – Ken McElroy

23. Don’t take shortcuts in your repairs and updates. Shortcuts will end up costing you money in the long run when a prospective Buyer’s offer comes in lower than anticipated or when their inspections reveal poor workmanship in the property you’re selling. Don’t let your properties be known as the gal/guy who delivers shoddy properties. – Lynn Pineda

24. Get Your Real Estate License – As a real estate investor, I couldn’t imagine trying to work the local distressed property market without a real estate license and being limited by another real estate agents skills if you need them. Realtors typically aren’t very knowledge of the speed and tactics used to acquire great properties for investors. Having your real estate license is an incredibly valuable asset, in my opinion. – Andrew Fortune

25. Treat your real estate just as an actual business. This means creating a plan of action, implementing those actions and growing your portfolio over-time. Don’t forget – always track your business expenses…these can give you big savings at tax time. – Amanda Han

26. Avoid properties that have functional obsolescence. Don’t think you are getting a fantastic deal because you think bought a property under value when in fact you didn’t because the property has some kind of major functional defect. As an example having to walk through a dining room to get to a bedroom. Who wants to do that? – Bill Gassett

27. Associate with people you want to become more like. If you want to become a successful landlord – find other successful landlords to hang around with, either online or in the real world. –Brandon Turner

28. Hope for the Best but Plan for the Worst. Always have several exit strategies and contingency plans no matter what your investing strategy plan or goal is. Doesn’t matter if you are flipping or buy and hold, you must be prepared for SNAFU! – Mark Brian

29. Make sure you’re relevant. Research what’s happening in the market you’ll be investing in before you spend time, money, and resources. What’s working even a year ago may no longer be where you need to focus, so make sure what you’re offering and who/what you’re targeting are still lucrative. You always have to be thinking “what’s my value add here?” and build around that. – Tracy Royce

30.Establish a successful mindset, this is what I refer to as the “rule of the universe” – what you expect tends to become the reality you create. Keep your head down, work hard and expect to win. If you do this long enough, one day (sooner than you think) you will look up and the reality around you will have changed for the better. – Chris Feltus

31. Expect the unexpected from Tenants. Plan for the worse and be pleasantly surprised when you get a great tenant.  Tenant planning usually involves money; either periods of no tenants, making property repairs to non-functioning items and non-paying tenants. It’s critical to have reserve funds available to handle these money draining time periods. – Lynn Pineda

32. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are so many details in real estate that it can be overwhelming.  One of the great things about experienced investors is that they have all been in your place.  Turn to more experienced investors with your questions, as there is no such thing as a stupid question. – Joshua Dorkin

33. Focus on raising rental income without annoying your good tenants. The best way to do that is by being attentive to and flexible on reasonable tenant requests. It is much easier to increase rents on happy tenants, than those that you’ve been fighting against. – Elias Nathaniel

34. Spend time learning the math. The math will keep you from buying a bad deal, which is more important than buying a good one! – Brandon Turner

35. Get the money, then handover the keys. Always collect the security deposit and any pre-paid rent before you allow a tenant to move into a property. Don’t just accept a personal check but rather make sure that the money is in your bank account before handing over the keys. – Lucas Hall

36. Understand the difference between passive income and active income. Active income means you work for your money (and secretly, most real estate investments actually require a lot of work). Be able to differentiate between working for your money and being able to earn is passively (there’s a huge difference!) – Ali Boone

37. It’s important to network with like-minded folks to bounce ideas off of, advise you on your first few deals and help through the rough patches. Things will not always be easy or run smoothly, especially at first. – Sharon Vornholdt

38. Relationships. In the world today everything is very fast-paced/cut and dry. Everyone is just trying to get the job done and make money. This method may get things done quickly, but it doesn’t necessarily ensure quality. By taking your time and focusing on building relationships you can eliminate the ones looking for a quick penny and only work with people who genuinely have your best interest at heart. – Engelo Rumora

39. Know who all the players are in your market…… who they are and what they do. You want to be known as “the guy (gal)”. Being able to put people together with what they want will enable you to monetize more of the leads you pay for, which will let you market more which will get you more leads, which you will monetize….. – Jerry Puckett

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40.Buy properties in great neighborhoods with good school systems and great highway access. When you follow a blueprint of what the market wants you will be in a much better position to make a profit. Go with what the majority of buyers are looking for and you will be in a much more favorable position. – Bill Gassett

41. Create a plan. You don’t have to have a detailed business plan with every little detail included to be successful, but you do need a plan.  Knowing what strategies you’re going to take, what criteria you’re looking for, what your exit strategies are, what your financing possibilities are, and other key details, will help you to be more successful.  Putting pen to paper and mapping out your first deal(s) will also help mitigate the paralysis by analysis that most new investors experience. – Joshua Dorkin

42. Learn Your Markets Numbers: Know how much properties are actually worth and how much you can pay. The ones that are the best at picking up off market deals are those that know exactly how much they can pay. That knowledge produces confidence; confidence + accurate numbers = a strong offer; strong offers + repetition = deal flow and more confidence. – Jerry Puckett

43. Know Your Limitations – As much as I hate to admit it, my design skills SUCK. I can barely match my clothes right. I have no business picking out decorative items, so I have other people help me with that. My favorite place to find design products is in new builder properties, because they are very skilled at knowing what sells right now. My wife is also very skilled at this and has helped me many times with design choices and staging ideas. Embrace your limitations! – Andrew Fortune

44. Become a Master of influence. – Claude Diamond

45. Don’t overbuild for the neighborhood. Look at what other investors and home owners have done, and don’t do anything more than that because these upgrades likely reflect what buyers expect in the neighborhood. – Ryan Lundquist

46. You don’t have to leap off a cliff – take baby steps.  You don’t need to know from A-Z, every conceivable way to deal with a real estate situation. Start with what comes first: get a look at the big picture and start marketing for leads.  You don’t have to have money lined up to be able to buy the house.  If you can find a super deal, you can find a buyer and assign the contract to them for a hefty assignment fee.  You don’t need headlights on your car that illuminate the entire route from San Antonio, Texas to Chicago, Illinois to get there at night.  You need to only focus on what is immediately ahead. – Danny Johnson

47. Follow the plan and give it your all.  Persevere through the tough times, and celebrate the highs. – Steve Cook

48. Create a good relationship and a good reputation with the brokerage community. Negotiating commissions during or after a deal is done or delaying the payment of commission will only serve to create distrust towards you. Word of this kind of behavior gets around quickly and will cost dearly over time. – Elias Nathaniel

49. Trust is established over time, not over one email, phone call or meeting. Finding and working with individuals that are happy to spend “that” time in building your trust is a key factor to maintaining and growing a solid business relationship. Unless such trust is established, it will be very difficult to preserve the relationship and successfully obtain your desired goals/benefits. – Engelo Rumora

50.Nothing verbal is valid. Even if it’s your favorite uncle or brother-in-law with which you’re going to have as your investment partner – everything needs to be in writing and within a secure “legally bound” contract. This is business – and it has to be handled that way!!! – Connor T. MacIVOR

51. The only time I lost money in real estate was when I wasn’t in control of the deal. So the more control you can keep, keep it. – Dave Van Horn

52. Set goals that are specific and measurable for achieving success in investing.  Example: I want to buy my first rental by July 2015.  Work that goal backward to specific tasks you must do every week to achieve that goal. – Mark Ferguson

53. Love and care about people. Try to ad value to people’s lives daily. – John Fedro

54. Get started right away. The best way to learn is by doing. – Conor Flaherty

55. Don’t give up.  People aren’t successful because they want it, they are successful because they want to succeed so bad they will fail, and learn, and fail, and learn, and get better, and change, and become great, become successful, because they were willing to do more than everyone else was.  –Nathan Brooks

56. When flipping a house, be cautious about estimating the after repair value. The value should be based on similar sales and listings in the immediate neighborhood – as opposed to cherry picking higher sales from superior areas. – Ryan Lundquist

57. One thing to keep in mind when doing a bathroom or kitchen remodel is the amount of money that is being spent.  It’s important to not go overboard and spend tens of thousands of dollars on remodeling a bathroom.  Simple things such as switching light fixtures, vanities, and tub enclosures are all great ways to boost value while not breaking the bank!  It’s not recommended to spend more than 5% of the home’s value on a remodel. – Kyle Hiscock

58. Once you have decided on an investing strategy and you have a budget for marketing, create a marketing plan. What will that look like? Will you be doing direct mail, bandit signs, using one of the many (free) Craig’s List strategies or something else? Remember that your investing strategy will be greatly impacted by the amount of money you have to spend on marketing. – Sharon Vornholdt

59. The first thing to tackle is your own motivation. If you are not ready to leave the rat race behind and embrace a future where your hard work allows you to enjoy anything you really want, then maybe you are not ready to take advantage of any kind of real estate investing. – David Lindahl

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60.Put together your business plan.  Decide whether you’ll be looking at holding the properties for a few years or flipping them.  Do the math on each property to make sure it fits your margins. – Debbie Drummond

61. Create systems in the beginning so you can quickly scale and work on the business and not so much in the business.  Hire people smarter than you to help on the areas of your business you are weak to help avoid mistakes.  Always be learning and educating yourself. – Mark Podolsky

62. Network is everything. Things go wrong in every real estate deal – a good network will help you succeed in spite of the inevitable obstacles. – Conor Flaherty

63. Focus on creating friendships – not contacts. Instead of “networking” at an event just meet people and try to make friends based on common interests. The biz will be a natural output from the friendship. Plus, it’s for more fun this way. – Joe Fairless

64. Communication, communication, communication… instead of location, location, location… I can’t stress it enough!” This is one of the most important components when looking to successfully invest in Real Estate. In the end, you want to work with people who will, through good communication and integrity, build your trust and develop a prosperous and long-term relationship with you. – Engelo Rumora

65. Automation is all about systems and keeping things simple. The most successful investors I know have systems for everything. A good SYSTEMSaves Your Self Time, Energy, and Money. And a good system should be simple, it should not be complicated. And why do you have systems?  So you can delegate them, of course! – Joe McCall

66. Be honest and ethical when withholding the deposit.  Many landlords try to withhold the deposit for normal wear and tear, or overcharge for small repairs. Wrongful or undocumented charges will often force a landlord to forfeit the claim on the deposit. Worse, the landlord can be held liable for up to 3x the amount of the deposit, according to the laws in many states. – Lucas Hall

67. Combining strategies, if done expertly, can turbo charge both capital growth and retirement income. It can also hasten retirement. – Jeff Brown

68. You don’t need your own money to invest, you can use other people’s money. Being disciplined is more important. – Dave Van Horn

69. Remember that You Make Your Money When You Buy Real Estate, Not When You Sell Real Estate. Don’t bank on repairs to enable your profit. If you are already in the green when you walk out of closing, you are already off to a great start. – Mark Brian

70.Make a decision and stick with it. Real Estate Investing is not the “get rich quick yell at contractors and make $50,000 on every house” that’s it been popularized as. It’s like an other profession that takes time, knowledge, and effort to become successful at. And just like any other profession, it’s not always easy. What will keep you going is your determination, and hopefully…your profits. – Tracy Royce

71. Just like the bathroom remodel, a kitchen remodel is a great way to boost the value of a home, however, it’s suggested not to spend more than 10% of the home’s value on the remodel.  Kitchens and baths are usually the main selling point in a home.  One important thing to consider when doing a kitchen remodel is the amount of time that the homeowner is planning on staying in the home.  If only a couple of years, installing granite counters and high-end cabinets may not be the best idea. – Kyle Hiscock

72. Get a mentor.  You can read all the books you want but that does not equal what it means to be within a real estate deal, looking at the project, and walking through with someone who is skilled in assessing, solving, and selling… the property you invested in.  – Nathan Brooks

73. Talk to as many investors as you can in your area and online.  Learn from local investors what they are doing and how.  Take them to lunch or coffee and learn by example. – Mark Ferguson

74. Extend your due diligence to the market as well. Properties don’t live in a vacuum. What are the economic dynamics of this market — occupancy/vacancy, prevailing lease rates, cap rates, financing? What are the business and employment climates and where do they seem headed? – Frank Gallinelli

75. Realize that real estate investing doesn’t have to be that hard. You don’t have to do all the complicated parts of it yourself. This was why I didn’t get into real estate investing sooner – I didn’t know how to do all those things (like finding motivated sellers, buying foreclosures, rehabbing houses, landlording…. Yuck)! But there are other ways to do it, so don’t feel like you have to do it the hard way. – Ali Boone

76. Learn from others who have made countless mistakes before you. Duplicate what is already working. – John Fedro

77. You are not in the “Real Estate” business.  You are in the “Marketing” business.  You must have a “Marketing Plan” and you must implement that plan to succeed in business.  You need to know how many sellers you should talk to, and how many offers you should make, every day. – Joe McCall

78. Find a Realtor who knows the market where you plan to invest in.  They can help you find the right opportunities to meet your budget and goals.  Successful investors tend to be repeat clients so the Realtor will have a vested interest in your success. – Debbie Drummond

79. Find a local mentor. It’s easy for someone to take you seriously when you’re already showing thatyou are going to be a force to reckon with.  If you have leads coming in, people are going to listen to you…and help you.  When something comes up that you don’t know how to handle, you will have someone a phone call away that can help you. – Danny Johnson

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80.Ensure that your lease complies with your state’s laws. If you try to use a “free lease template” or fail to integrate your state’s requirements into your lease, you might find yourself defenseless in court. Don’t give your tenant a reason to sue you; follow the law. – Lucas Hall

81. Get as close as possible to your CORE (cost of repairs estimate) when evaluating a property’s condition before you make an offer. Do it 10 times if you have to and add 10% to that number as an additional safety measure. Take your trusted, qualified contractor with you to confirm the numbers. The last thing you want to do is go tens of thousands over your original projections (as many do). You won’t be in this business long if you do. – Mike LaCava

82. No matter how brilliant our overall long-term plan may be, life happens. The #1 factor in anyone’s real estate investment plan must be flexibility. Sometimes it’ll be the reason you survive, while sometimes it’ll prove to be the reason you raced past everyone else. – Jeff Brown

83. Have a specific plan of action for one type of investing.  Decide exactly what you want to do as an investor; flip, hold, wholesale, etc.  Focus on that type of investing and learn all you can about it. Don’t try to learn and do everything at once. Once you master one thing, you can move on to another if you want. – Mark Ferguson

84. Investing in real estate is not emotional, it’s business! If the deal doesn’t make financial good sense, walk away. – Deborah Lamb

85. Recognize what you’re good at and do only that. Hire or partner with the best people possible to fill in your weaknesses (we all have them). – Ken McElroy

86. Recognize the importance of clarity. First, be clear about your own investment goals. Are you looking for immediate cash flow, long-term growth, low risk/low upside, high risk/high upside? Then be clear when you communicate with sellers and lenders. Master your investment vocabulary; present your financial data in a way that everyone can understand. – Frank Gallinelli

87. Leave your emotions at the door. Your rental property is a business, with real money and equity involved – so treat it that way. Every applicant must be treated fairly with without bias or prejudice. The most successful landlords are courteous, professional, and stay in control.  – Lucas Hall

88. Decide what profit margin you want to adhere to. Break it down to a dollar amount or percentage. For example, “For each property I’m going to flip, I need to walk away with at least $25,000 in net profit after all is said and done.” This will make it easier to identify the listings that fit your criteria. Never violate your own line in the sand!! – Connor T. MacIVOR

89. Be prepared for the worst. Rising mortgage rates, economic downturns, vacancies, etc. should be planned for in advance. You don’t want to find yourself in a corner with little or no maneuvering room. The amount of control you have over your real estate has a huge impact on the ultimate success of your investments. – Elias Nathaniel

90.Find out what you’re good at and do it. Get someone to do everything else for you.  Now that you have the marketing plan automated and systematized, get it off your plate! If you’re anything like me, if you don’t get somebody else to do your marketing, it just won’t get done. So it all circles back to marketing. The chief goal is to get all of your marketing done for you, in spite of you. Never stop marketing. It will solve all your money problems. The best marketer will always win. Joe McCall

91. Be open-minded, flexible and creative. Be ready to pivot quickly and when you find a successful buying and selling channel keep working it until it doesn’t work any longer and then quickly pivot to market changes. Keep finding ways to help your buyers and investors meet their goals.  Always be marketing and communicating with your customers.  Build long term relationships and your own platform.  – Mark Podolsky

92. Buying an investment is significantly different from buying your home or your vacation home. Don’t fall in love with the property and don’t ask yourself if you would like to live in it. When it comes to investment properties, look at the numbers to see if it makes sense as an “investment” and not as if it is your next dream home. – Amanda Han

93. Act fast when something isn’t working. Don’t wait. Chances are, if it starts not working, it will continue not working. Bad situations can spiral fast in real estate investing, so don’t hesitate to nip something in the bud quickly! Emotions have to be put aside, you may not be able to stay Mr. (or Ms.) Nice Guy during it, just get it done. – Ali Boone

94. If You Can Do It Yourself, Then Do It! – I’ve read too many articles giving advice to investors that they should be hands off and hire professionals for everything that needs to be done. I’m sorry, but I enjoying rehabbing properties myself and my ROI is exponentially higher when I am at the property doing as much of the work as I can, because I’m good at it and I enjoy it. If you have the skills, don’t be afraid to use them just because other investors do not. – Andrew Fortune

95. Network. Regardless of whether you’re shy, new, have no money, bad credit, it doesn’t matter. What will help to drastically reduce your learning curve and possibly increase your profits is who you know and what you can bring to the table for each other. Be open-minded to strategic partnerships, mentorships and building your team. In this business, it’s everything. – Tracy Royce

96. Learn from your mistakes and don’t let the same mistake happen twice. When you do make a mistake, get up, and move forward without hesitation. – John Fedro

97. Saving is important. Whether to buy new deals or help fund existing ones, you are going to need money. Make sure to save as much as you can. – Conor Flaherty

98. Learn the Art and Science of Persuasion. – Claude Diamond

99. The only debt you should have in your business is on assets that are paying for themselves. Don’t take out loans for liabilities that won’t carry their own weight! This is completely unsustainable, and one of the fastest ways to run your business into the ground. – Seth Williams

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100.Understand how long it will take you to buy, renovate and sell a property. Know what your cost are going to be for at least one year and if you are paying on a loan, you must know what your monthly payments will be along with taxes, insurance, maintenance (so you can be prepared to pay for all those carrying costs if you don’t sell right away). Always make sure you have a few exit strategies if things don’t go the way you anticipate.Mike LaCava

101. Create a written game plan. Include things like capital on hand, lender approvals, partner splits and resources to hunt/write/repair and flip or rent. – Connor T. MacIVOR

Source: RETipster- http://retipster.com/things-to-know-about-real-estate-investing/

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