Updated: Sunday, August 9, 2020
What Should You Know About Virtual Home Tours?
The pandemic is still going on, despite most states being in some phase of their reopening plan, and people are doing more things virtually than ever before. nbsp;
For example, some employers are saying theyll keep their employees working remotely for the foreseeable future.
A Changing Real Estate Market?
Inevitably, these changes have impacted the real estate market. The market has been surprisingly strong through this, with mortgage rates historically low, but that doesnt mean buyers and sellers arent doing things differently.
The virtual tour is one example. Increasingly homebuyers are going through the entire process online, meaning realtors are showing them homes virtually.
A survey that came out in January, before the pandemic affected America, found that prospective homebuyers preferred to work with agents offering virtual tours. The National Association of Realtors 2019 report called Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends, found that 48 of buyers between the ages of 39 and 63 said they found virtual tours very useful as they searched for homes.
The following are things buyers, sellers, and real estate agents should know about virtual home tours.
Agents Can Go in the Home to Do the Tour
The term virtual tour is somewhat generalized, and it can refer to a few different scenarios.
In one scenario, theres a virtual tour thats prerecorded, and then anyone can look at it on demand.
There are also instances, particularly now, where real estate agents representing buyers will go into the home and then walk them through it live, but still virtually using something like Zoom or FaceTime.
For some buyers, this represents a better option because their agent can help them understand the nuanced details of the home that they wouldnt have access to otherwise. If you have a real estate agent whos doing a tour for you, its a much more dynamic experience.
You can ask your agent to show you closets, or provide different angles. You can also ask them to look in the backyard or to examine certain components of the house like the foundation.
What are the Pros of Virtual Tours?
Since were still dealing with the effects of the pandemic, one of the perks of virtual tours for buyers is that it provides them with inherent social distancing.
Some people who might be planning a move far from their current location may not even have the option to travel right now, so virtual tours are the only way for them to conduct their search.
Its also convenient, and theres a lot to be said for that.
When you take a virtual tour, you dont want to spend time traveling to the property if its something youre not interested in.
Even if you dont buy your home completely sight unseen, virtual tours can save you time in the overall process.
Virtual tours can help you get a handle on what you like and dont like as well.
What Are the Cons of Virtual Tours?
There are downsides to virtual tours. First, you dont get the full sensory experience of a home. It sounds silly, but homes have a vibe and you may feel one way or another about a space when youre there in person. You dont feel what the ceiling heights are as an example, or what the finishes feel like.
Youre also not getting a feel for the location if you buy a home without seeing it first. You can ask your real estate agent to provide you with information and perhaps even a virtual tour of the neighborhood, but still, its not the same as seeing it for yourself.
Tips for Virtual Tours
If youre a buyer, there are some things to know going into virtual tours.
First, know what to ask your real estate agent if youre doing a live tour. For example, remember to ask about the fundamentals like the laundry room, the garage, and the storage spaces. Have your agent show you the roof and the foundation, as well as the less glamorous parts of the house like the water heater and the furnace.
If possible, even if you arent going to go to the home, but you live >
Finally if at all possible think of virtual tours as one part of your home buying process rather than a complete replacement. They can supplement your experience and save you time, but if you have the chance to go into the home it can help you visualize yourself there.
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Tips To Make Your HOA Newsletter Pure Gold
Focus on Building Community. Get HOA members to become participants rather than observers. Offer opportunities to do that on committees and social events.
Understand Your Audience. How old are they? What is their financial status? How do they like to spend their time? Find out by getting feedback from your readers with a questionnaire.
Inspire Your Readers. Make sure events, activities and volunteer opportunities are well publicized. Create headlines to grab the readers attention.
Be Consistent in Layout and Content. If you have a "Rules amp; Regs Corner" which highlights a particular HOA rule or policy, publish it in every issue. Always include current board and management contact information mail, email and phone.
Dash the Draft. Write the rough draft as quickly as possible and then go back to polish and flesh out the details.
Archive Your Newsletters and Articles. Many articles bear repeating and as time passes will have new eyes that see them for the first time. Repeat seasonal reminders. Create folders on your computer for the months you publish your newsletter and put article files in the months they fit best. In time, you can build a reservoir of content to draw upon that will make newsletter writing much simpler and quicker.
Lead With Your Strong Suit. Put the most important information up front. Organize the strongest points of an article before you write it.
Keep Articles Short. If an article is long or complicated, readers will move on. If there is simply too much good content to abbreviate, break the article into several articles.
Give Credit amp; Contact Information. Include the newsletter committee, writer and editor names and contact information. This rewards volunteers and encourages others to step up.
Be Positive amp; Uplifting. While criticism has its place, too much of it is a downer and chases most readers away. Strive for the positive. Be upbeat.
Proofread. Editing is a rewording experience. Carefully review your work for grammatical and spelling mistakes or get a detailed oriented person to do it for you. Make sure your facts are straight.
Reprint with Permission. Search the internet for content that would be of interest to your readers. If you find an article that includes author and contact information, be sure to get permission before reprinting and give credit where credit is due.
Have Fun With It. Give them a giggle or two. The internet is full of jokes, puns and cartoons.
Publish Pictures. Folks love to see themselves in the paper. Share event pictures, photos of board members, the manager, committee members and other volunteers.
PDF It. Programs like Adobe Acrobat make it possible to convert word processing and newsletter programs into Portable Document Format PDF which can be posted on the HOA website or emailed to those that do email. PDF was designed with HOAs in mind. Using it can save thousands of dollars in printing, supplies and postage each year plus countless processing hours each year required of paper newsletters. Get Advertisers. If your HOA is large enough and newsletter regular, it may attract advertisers like real estate agents, insurance agents, painters and remodelers and help pay for itself.
Newsletters are a wonderful way to bind your community together in a custom way. Keep your homeowner association in the know with timely and >
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Tips for Landlords During COVID-19
The CARES Act also established a federal eviction moratorium, but now thats come to an end, for the time being, leaving around 40 of renters in America at risk of losing their homes.
Eviction notices can now legally go forward, but as a landlord, you probably realize the situation isnt cut and dry.
What can you do as a landlord to help your renters, even if youre worried about how to pay your own bills?
Know Local Regulations
If youre a landlord, you may already be aware of what your local regulations are under normal circumstances as far as evictions, but theyve likely changed in recent months.
In California, for example, more than 80 local governments have put temporary holds on evictions beyond what the federal government had in place.
Your state or city should have information on their website.
With that being said, even if you can evict a tenant that doesnt necessarily mean you should for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is the fact that it could be nearly impossible to find a new renter right now.
Regardless of the specifics of your situation, empower yourself with knowledge as a landlord during this time.
Communicate Transparently with Tenants
Many tenants are facing serious stress and uncertainty right now, and the idea of being evicted is only going to add to that.
Of course, they may not be thinking that as a landlord, youre facing the same things.
Try to communicate as much as you can with your tenants now and as long as were in the pandemic.
Let your tenants know what youre thinking, what your plans are, and also let them know they arent alone during this time.
If you have several tenants or more, consider communicating by setting up an online portal.
If a tenant is telling you they cant pay your rent, you may need to verify what theyre saying. This can be uncomfortable, but if a tenant is simply nervous about the future but still has their job, then they have a responsibility to pay their rent.
By verifying information, you will send a message to your tenants that while youre willing to work with them, you also take rent collection seriously. There has to be a balance between compassion and potentially being taken advantage of.
There may be local laws dictating what you can and cant ask of tenants right now, so again, youll need to check in on local laws and regulations.
Work with Your Tenants
If your tenants truly are facing financial challenges, the best thing you can do is work with them.
You might talk to them about partial payments, for example. One option would be to prorate how much they owe over a certain period and then add that to their monthly rent when things normalize.
If your city allows it, you may be able to work out some other type of payment plan as well. In some cities in the U.S., you can ask tenants to sign payment plans, so youll have to check that first.
Talk to Your Lender
Finally, if your tenants are having financial problems, then you as a landlord may be as well. Just as there has been >
Contact your lender, and when you do, be prepared to show them how much rent youre losing and also outline your monthly expenses.
If youre honest and proactive, theyre more likely to work with you to lower monthly payments or help you find another solution to avoid default.
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