5 Tips for Approaching the Open House

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For decades, sellers and their agents have been using open houses to help generate interest in their listings. Open houses give the general public the chance to view a home without scheduling a private showing. While open houses do get a lot of curious neighbors and casual browsers, they can be a good opportunity for serious buyers to decide if a home is worth pursuing further, or a way to get a better grasp on neighborhood home values. 

In fact, 59% of home buyers attended an open house during their shopping process last year and 43% of buyers said attending the open house was very or extremely important to determining if the home was right for them.* On average, home buyers attended 2.6 open houses before buying.

Whether you’re a sincere buyer or simply curious about the inside of a home, you should know how open houses work and understand how you can be a good open house attendee. 

Note: If open houses are restricted or unavailable due to public health concerns, work with your agent to arrange a private tour or video tour. All Zillow-owned homes include a self-tour option — just use our app to unlock the door and tour at your convenience.

What is an open house?

An open house is an event during which potential buyers can tour a home that’s on the market. It’s usually hosted by the seller’s listing agent, or by the seller themselves, in case of a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) listing. Open houses usually take place on weekends, during a set range of hours typically midday.

Open house benefits for buyers

No scheduling required: Unlike a private showing, you don’t need to set up a specific appointment to see a home. Simply show up during the open house hours and view the home at your own pace. 

Scope out the competition: If you’re interested in a home, attending the open house can help you gauge interest from other buyers. This can be helpful when determining how quickly you need to submit an offer and how much you should offer. 

Understand current home values: Seeing what homes are selling for in your area and what you can buy at a particular price point can be helpful if you’re just starting your search. 

Redefine your nonnegotiable home features: Checking out homes in person can help you redefine your list of must-haves: Do you really need that extra bedroom? What does a backyard of this size really look like?

How do open houses work?

Not every seller or listing agent will hold one, but here’s the typical process for sellers setting up an open house:

  1. The seller and their agent determine a day and time for the open house.
  2. The agent lists the open house on the local MLS.
  3. The agent advertises the open house on social media, online and with print ads or flyers. 
  4. The agent prepares for the open house — purchasing refreshments, printing flyers, setting up signs and adding little touches to make the home feel welcoming to buyers. (Yes, as a shopper, you can eat the cookies.)
  5. The agent hosts the event, greeting buyers and answering questions about the property and community.
  6. Buyers remove their shoes, tour the home, take pictures and video (if allowed) and jot down important notes. 
  7. Any buyer who liked the house will contact their own agent. They’ll then set up a private showing to see the home again or they’ll submit an offer right away — the latter is common in fast-moving real estate markets.

Who hosts an open house?

The person hosting an open house could be any one of the following: 

  • Listing agent: As the person hired to sell the home, the listing agent should be an expert on the property. 
  • Listing agent’s team member or associate: A busy listing agent may also send another agent in their place — either someone on their team or another agent in their office. They should be experts in the local market, but may not be as familiar with the individual home. 
  • Homeowner: If a home is for sale by owner (FSBO), the homeowner will be hosting their own open house. They’re undoubtedly the expert on the home, but their local market expertise may be limited. 

How to prepare for an open house

There are times when you might just stumble upon an open house while you’re on a walk or running errands. But if you’re intentionally looking for open houses as part of your home-buying strategy, try these tips.

Seek out relevant open houses

If you plan to visit multiple open houses in one day, make sure you’re focusing on listings that fit your criteria for budget and location. It’s not worth wasting time looking at homes outside your budget or those that are too far from your work or school. 

Tip: With Zillow’s home search tool, buyers can filter by homes with upcoming open houses (this filter can be applied in addition to other search filters like price, bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage and location). When you use the open houses filter in conjunction with filters for your other criteria, you can easily find the right open houses for your search.

A map of home listings on Zillow.

You can also tour most Zillow-owned homes any time between 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., any day of the week — just select the tour option on the listing. Although the listing agent will not be present, you can avoid a busy open house and rest assured the property is in move-in ready condition.

Do research on the market beforehand

With help from your agent or on your own, find out how each home you’re planning to visit stacks up against others nearby. Is the price in line with similar listings in the area? Are there any defects? Has it gone under contract recently and then returned to the market? Are there a lot of other interested buyers? Has it been sitting on the market for a long time? (“Days on market” is an indicator of a stale listing, but the standard number of days on market can vary based on where you live.)

Stay open-minded

If you’re searching on a tight budget in a hot neighborhood, there’s a good chance that the home that fits the bill will need some TLC. Fortunately, attending an open house can give you a better idea of the home’s condition and potential, while also giving you the opportunity to ask renovation-related questions — e.g., the location of load bearing walls and the details of local regulations. 

How to attend an open house

Now that you’ve done your research and are prepared to add some open houses to your home search, here’s what you should do once the day arrives. 

Ask questions

An open house is your best opportunity to ask the listing agent (or their associate) your questions — don’t be shy. Ask questions that you wouldn’t be able to answer just by reading a home’s listing description, such as:

  • What are the HOA restrictions?
  • Has the seller done a property tax appeal?
  • Have there been any recent renovations or repairs?

Tip: If you’re not currently working with an agent and you ultimately decide you aren’t interested in a particular home you tour, the open house could help you see if the listing agent might be the right person to represent you — many agents represent both buyers and sellers. 

Be honest

If anyone other than the listing agent or the homeowner is hosting the open house, they’re likely an agent hoping to find potential buyer clients. If you’re already working with an agent (or if you have no real interest in buying), be honest.

Check for damage and disrepair

Professional or edited photos can make a home look a lot better online than it is in person. At an open house, take the opportunity to closely evaluate a home’s condition and take note of any potential defects that would factor into your offer price. 

Assess the windows: Look for flaking paint, misaligned sashes and condensation due to air leaks. These could be signs of windows that need replacement. 

Check for water damage: Look for warped baseboards, ceiling stains and musty smells. 

Make note of cracks: Noticeable cracks in the ceiling or drywall could indicate foundation issues. 

Test functions: Open cabinets, doors and drawers. Run the faucets. Check the water pressure. An open house is a good opportunity to make sure every part of the home is in good working order. 

Gauge potential renovation needs: Home improvements can really add up. As you walk through a home, keep an eye out for urgent renovation needs like floors, fixtures or large repainting projects.

Open house tips for buyers

Whenever you attend an open house, put yourself in the seller’s shoes — you’re letting a bunch of strangers walk through your home while you’re not there. While every seller wants their open house to net a buyer, they also want to keep their home safe and their furnishings free of damage.

Do

  • Take off your shoes or wear booties if requested.
  • Greet the host and provide your name.
  • Sign in if necessary or requested (this is a safety issue for the seller and their agent).
  • Take notes on your phone about your likes, dislikes and follow-up questions.
  • Ask if you can capture a video (if the listing doesn’t already include a video).
  • Respect other buyers and guests. 
  • Wait for others to exit a room before you enter.
  • Provide feedback if requested.
  • Thank the person hosting the event.

Don’t

  • Refuse to comply with an agent or homeowner’s house rules.
  • Criticize the home or the owner’s style.
  • Listen in on other visitors’ conversations.
  • Touch the owner’s belongings.
  • Let kids run around without supervision.
  • Bring food or beverages in (except water).
  • Reveal information that would compromise your negotiating power, like your budget or level of interest in the home.
  • Bring pets.

*Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2019 survey data

Source: zillow.com

Tips to Troubleshoot Slow Internet Speed

For apartment dwellers who depend on their connection to the Web, it’s a drag when a slow one seems to stop time online.

With a little bit of know-how, you can troubleshoot a solution when the information superhighway leaves you on the side of the road. Keep these details in mind.

Consider the time of day

Time of day is a typical culprit – one that you might be able to avoid. Joining a lot of people online at once can tax servers and slow down overall response time. If you happen to be connecting at a peak hour – say, in the early evening – you can expect slower loading. Consider what you are doing online, as well. Streaming video or music is more of a burden for the connection than sending an email.

Consider your computer

Maybe your own machine is contributing to the frustration. An older machine, especially one with less memory or a slower chipset, might not play well with the Web. Or perhaps your computer is not optimally set to connect with the Net. Too many open programs, large active downloads, or even virus activity could slow you up significantly.

Wireless woes

For all its convenience, connecting wirelessly can pose its own set of challenges. For one, many devices in the typical household operate on wireless frequencies, and these devices compete with each other over airwaves. (When you live in an apartment community, you may even see several of your neighbors’ networks listed on your device. The walls aren’t keeping all these wireless signals from intermingling!) One simple thing you might try is moving your router to sniff out a better signal.

More tips regarding your apartment utilities:
Ready to Ditch the Landline and Go Cell Phone Only?How to Transfer Utility Services When You MoveTune In with These Budget-Friendly Alternatives to Cable

Consider your hardware set-up

If you find you cannot connect at all, ask yourself the basic questions: Is everything plugged in and turned on? Are your electrical outlets in working order? A bad modem or out-of-date router software or firmware all might contribute to connection problems. If you suspect one of these culprits, contact your service provider for specific advice regarding your particular set-up.

Possible solutions for a crawling Web

Before you give up and read a book, there are a few fairly straightforward things you might try to stoke your time online.

  • Try another browser. If the particular browser you’re using seems slow, try a different one. Firefox and Google Chrome are good choices.
  • Simplify what you’re doing online. Close extra, unneeded programs or tabs, or avoid streaming or downloading if these activities are especially slow.
  • Start a virus check. It never hurts to run your virus protection program to search for any unwanted virus visitors which may be clogging up your connection.
  • But don’t be afraid of harmless cookies! Set your browser preferences to enable cookies. The computer kind won’t add to your waistline, and they just might speed up your computing experience by helping your machine remember your personal preferences on various websites.  (You should, however, be wary about the sites you visit!)
  • Check your browser toolbar. An unexpected change in the look of your browser might mean you have inadvertently downloaded a piece of software which has changed your interface, like a new toolbar. While the change may not be malicious, tracking still might slow your computer’s performance.

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Zurijeta

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Tips for Settling In: A Post-Move Checklist

Once the movers bring all of your belongings to your new apartment, you still have some important details to sort through before you can truly feel at home.

Here’s a motivating thought: when the work is done, you can really enjoy your new home!

Follow this post-move checklist for tips on how to settle in to your space. We’ve also created a downloadable checklist that you can print and reference as you go.

Move-in day

  • Check to make sure all your utilities are turned on:
    • Water
    • Power
    • Gas
    • Cable
  • Inspect your furniture to make sure that nothing has been damaged during the move.
  • Count your boxes to make sure none of your inventory has been lost.
  • If you have used professional movers and anything has been lost or damaged during the move, report it right away.
  • Inspect your apartment to see if there are any marks or broken items that were there before you moved in. Report these to your apartment management team so you are not on the hook for the damages when you move out.
  • Unpack your priority box or any box with items you will need right away.
  • If you have children, let them pick one box of theirs to open so they can have a favorite toy or security item to help them transition to their new apartment.
  • Unpack linens and towels so you can make beds and shower.
  • Unpack enough clothes to get you through the next few days.

The first week: Inside your apartment

  • Check the level of cleanliness in your apartment. It was likely cleaned thoroughly before you moved in, but if not, you might want to give the space a once-over before you unpack.
  • File all your moving paper work, including your bill of lading and any receipts.
  • Arrange your furniture to maximize the flow of your apartment.
  • Begin unpacking in earnest. Decide on a manageable amount to unpack each day so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
  • As you unpack, you can set up certain rooms in your apartment. The living room, your bedroom and the kitchen all have their own sets of stuff.
  • Remove boxes and trash from your apartment as you unpack so you don’t end up with a mass of clutter!

The first week: Outside your apartment

  • Check your mail to make sure that it is being forwarded correctly.
  • Visit the DMV to update your license or apply for a new one.
  • Register to vote with your new address.
  • Change your address/contact information with your bank.
  • Map out the best commute to work. Test out a few routes against morning traffic.
  • If you have not already, register your children at their new school.
  • Begin your search for a new primary care doctor (and a veterinarian, if you have pets.)

The first month in your new home

  • If at all possible, finish unpacking within the first month. You don’t want to be stuck a year later with a box you still haven’t opened!
  • Check in with your friends online and let them know about your move.
  • Moving into an apartment is a great time to think “new” and “different.” Decorate not only with items you have brought with you, but also new items you buy for your space. Here’s a chance to try a new decorating theme, for instance.
  • Celebrate your move with an apartment-warming party. You have done a lot of work, you deserve to have some fun! A get-together is a great way to get to know your new neighbors, as well.
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Here’s How to Get a Free Smart Thermostat from OhmConnect

If you live in California, you’re likely all too familiar with summer blackouts. When the energy grid gets overloaded, dirty power plants need to turn on to keep everybody’s air conditioners running. If the grid is especially overworked, this can cause a blackout. This happens way too often and affects millions of Californians.

But a company called OhmConnect wants to help. It’s handing out free smart thermostats — and cash — to people in California who agree to try out its free service. Not only do you get these perks, but you’re also helping prevent these blackouts with hardly any effort. All you need to do is connect your utility account.

Here’s how it works: OhmConnect will send you a text message during high-energy-usage times and ask you to dial down your energy for about an hour. That’s it! If you have a smart thermostat, you can let it tick up a few degrees automatically with the help of OhmConnect. And if you don’t, now’s your chance to get one for free.

Smart thermostat or not — the more you do, the more money you can make.

For example, we talked to one woman, Tanya Williams, who recently earned an extra $1,700 in one year with OhmConnect — more than $140 a month. A few evenings each week, the 45-year-old stay-at-home mom shut down her home’s electrical panel and took the kids to the pool, or just played board games. Talk about easy money.

What you choose to do is up to you: You can grill dinner outside, go for a bike ride or even just play games on your phone. So long as you use less energy during these “OhmHours,” your earnings will add up.

How much energy can skipping a load of laundry or playing a board game really save?

Well, when you and your neighbors dial your energy usage back at the same time, you reduce the stress on the grid. OhmConnect says this reduction could equal more than two times the amount of energy that would have prevented 2020’s blackouts.

OhmConnect is free to join and costs nothing to participate. To get started, you’ll simply need your email and ZIP code and then to connect your utility account. Get connected, and you’ll be on your way to help end blackouts and make money.

Sign up here to get your free smart thermostat, which can handle  some of your energy savings automatically and could earn you $350 a year, plus prizes and gift cards.

Kari Faber is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

10 Tips to Detox Your Apartment

These days we’re all trying to live healthier, but you can’t concentrate your efforts merely on your fitness routine and diet. Your apartment might need a cleanse, too!

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Our cozy homes often trap allergens in carpets, linens and other sneaky spots. And to make matters worse, the cleansers we use can be just as toxic as the gunk we’re trying to get rid of.

Try cleaning up your apartment’s act with these tips!

1. Lose the shoes
A great way to start your detox is to prevent dirt and dust from getting into your home in the first place. Start a “no shoes on at home” rule, and make sure all residents and guests leave their footwear at the door. (Provide a cool shoe rack for storage!)

2. Get rid of clutter
The more knick-knacks and clutter you keep around, the more surfaces dust can settle on. One of the most important cleaning tips for keeping your home allergy-friendly is to dust and vacuum often.

3. Change air filters
Here’s a simple one. Change your air-conditioner filter every month or two. You might be lucky enough to live in an apartment community that does this for you. If not, take the extra time and do it yourself — your lungs will thank you.

4. Purify the water
Speaking of filters, your HVAC system isn’t the only place where pollutants hang out. Water sources can bring contaminants into your bathing and drinking water every day. Invest in a water filter for your sink faucets and your shower.

10 Tips to Detox Your Apartment10 Tips to Detox Your Apartment5. Change your cleansers
Many people are allergic to the chemicals in cleaners — the same cleaners that are supposed to remove allergens and dirt from your home. To help avoid irritants, switch to environmentally-friendly cleaning products like Mrs. Meyers and Seventh Generation, or try making your own cleansers from scratch.

More Cleaning and Organizing Tips

6. Open the windows and let fresh air in
Our insulated, comfy apartments are great, but a lack of air circulation can make for a stale, polluted environment. Try airing out your space by opening the windows for a few hours every now and then. It’s like giving your home a chance to take a deep breath. (This might not be the best idea at the height of the spring pollen season. Wait until the coast – achoo! – is clear.)

10 Tips to Detox Your Apartment10 Tips to Detox Your Apartment7. Monitor moisture
Mold isn’t always easy to see, but it’s the cause of many toxic reactions in the body. Keep an eye on the moisture levels in your home to combat mold growth. Make a visual check of areas that stay damp and dry out any areas that appear wet. You can also get a hygrometer to check the general humidity in your apartment. Invest in a dehumidifier if your humidity levels are above 50%.

8. Check for carbon monoxide leaks
Gas stoves, hot water heaters, furnaces and fireplaces should be checked regularly for leaks. You might invest in a carbon monoxide detector. This is especially important for apartment dwellers, as your neighbors could have a leak that you don’t know about.

9. Get expert advice
If all of these detox cleaning tips have overwhelmed you already, don’t worry – there are people who can help! Hiring a professional organizer is a great way to get your detox done quickly from someone who can teach you about the process. The National Association of Professional Organizers has a helpful database to search for “green organizers” in your area.

10. Give it time
Creating a delightfully detoxed apartment might involve many changes, but you don’t have to take them all at once. Just tweaking one thing you do, like switching cleansers, can make a big difference. Move at your own pace and, in time, your environment will be home to fewer irritants.

Like any life change, detoxing your apartment will be more fun if you enlist a buddy to help you. Find a friend to go green with, and you can celebrate your success together. To your health!

Photo credits: Shutterstock / sunsetman, Africa Studio, swinner

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Source: apartmentguide.com

22 science-backed ways to invest in yourself – Lexington Law

A person writing notes in a planner

You’re probably familiar with the value proposition of financial investing: spend strategically in the short-term on things that will pay dividends in the long-term. You siphon small amounts of your paycheck into your 401K each month in hopes that it will double or triple by the time you reach retirement.

But money isn’t the only thing you can manage up front for a greater payoff down the road.

Our time, energy, and focus are all finite resources that we choose to spend according to our priorities on any given day. But if we take a long-term approach to that spending, we can maximize our benefits and invest those resources in ourselves and our futures.

Here are 22 research-backed ways that you can invest now in your future wellbeing.

Invest in Your Goal Strategy

It’s tempting to get started on your goals right away, but it’s worth the effort to pause and invest time in creating a well-formed strategy.

Invest in your Goal Strategy

Invest in Better Habits

It only takes about three weeks to make a habit, so pausing other priorities to invest your full effort in creating positive routines is a small sacrifice you can make in order to set yourself up for long-term success.

Invest in Better Habits

Invest in Your Attitude

Even though changing your outlook is a mental task, it’s an important investment. Taking the time to alter your attitude daily takes effort and energy, but can ultimately improve your mental health and wellbeing.

Invest in Your Money

Financial investment is a personal investment, too. It’s impossible to set yourself up for emotional and physical health if you’re not planning for your future financially, so put effort into cleaning up your finances and making the neccessary sacrifices to take care of future you.

Invest in Your Money

Invest in Your Mind 

Just think about the hours you invested in your education as a child and how much that has paid off in your adult life. Continuing to cultivate your mind will have equally beneficial effects throughout the rest of your life.

Invest in Your Mind

Invest in Your Health

All of these investments can result in greater wellbeing, but there are also direct investments in your physical and mental health that can improve your quality of life later on.

Graphic list of ways to invest in your health

Invest in Others

It’s not just yourself you can spend time, energy and money on — putting your resources into your community can have long-lasting benefits for you, your loved ones and your neighbors.

Invest in Your Relationships

Investment doesn’t always mean setting aside actual money. It means giving any resource — be it your time, energy, or effort — to something now that will pay off in the future. The easiest way to find yourself in bad debt is by neglecting to track your finances. By strategically setting goals for your money as well as every other part of your life, you’re setting yourself up for success and making sure your energy is spent in the smartest way possible.

Sources

APA | Harvard | SAGE Journal | APA PsychNET | Journal of Personality and Social Psychology | Journal of Experimental Psychology | National Center for Biotechnology Information | Harvard Business Review | Journal of Applied Social Psychology | Mr. Electric | The Smart Cave | Science Daily | Forbes | Journal of Comparative Neurology and Psychology | Journal of Personality | Journal of Personality and Social Psychology | Huffington Post | Debt.com | MarketWatch | StudentLoanHero | The Simple Dollar |The New York Times | Science Daily | American Journal of Public Health | Huffington Post | Psychosomatic Medicine | Psychology Today | Neurology | Huffington Post | American Heart Association | British Psychological Society | Physiology & Behavior | TIME Magazine | National Academy of Sciences | Journal of Behavioral Medicine | Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine | Blood Purification | American Diabetes Association | Journal of the American Medical Association | AARP | Corporation for National & Community Service | SAGE Journals | Psychology Today | Canopy Health | WebMD

Source: lexingtonlaw.com

What is Rent Control?

Did you ever wonder how Monica and Rachel in “Friends” could afford rent in a two-bedroom New York City apartment on a waitress and chef’s salary? Well, the answer is rent control.

Rent control is a rare policy that fixes the price of rent indefinitely and falls under the umbrella term “rent regulations.”

It sounds great, right? Before you get too excited, you need to understand exactly what is rent control.

We’ll talk about the difference between rent control vs. rent stabilization, explain how it really works and give you a few advantages and disadvantages of living in a rent-controlled apartment.

Rent control vs. rent stabilization

Both rent control and rent stabilization are concepts centered around the idea of protecting tenants from major increases in the price of rent. The goal is to keep housing affordable while also enabling landlords to increase rent.

While people often confuse the two, there is a big difference between them.

Rent stabilization

Rent stabilization is the more common practice and means that landlords or property owners can only increase rent by a specific percentage year-over-year. In areas that have rent stabilization in place, the state sets the rate at which landlords can increase rent. Because this is a state issue, not a federal issue, it can vary drastically state-by-state. For example, Oregon limits yearly rent increases to 9.2 percent while Los Angeles County in California limits yearly rent increases to a mere 3 percent.

This is a more common practice and you’ll likely have an easier time finding a rent-stabilized apartment than a rent-controlled apartment.

Rent control

Rent control is a policy that means landlords cannot increase a tenant’s rent. Effectively, rental rates remain set and won’t increase. Rent-controlled apartments have a set price for rent that will not increase whereas rent-stabilized apartments will see price increases but there is a cap on how much the rate can increase each year.

Rent-controlled apartments are incredibly rare, so if you live in or can find a rent-controlled apartment, you’re very lucky.

Friends apartment in NYC.

In fact, there are only 22,000 rent-controlled apartments out there. Even if you can find a rent-controlled apartment on the market, you have to meet a specific set of criteria to qualify for one. This includes:

  • You cannot make more than $200,000 for two years in a row
  • The building must have been built before 1947
  • The apartment must have been lived in by the same family since at least 1971
  • The apartment must be passed from family member to family member
  • The person who inherits the rent-controlled apartment must have lived in it for two years straight before officially inheriting it

Now, it makes sense how Monica had such a great apartment in New York — she lived in the apartment with her grandmother for two years prior to inheriting it from her. This allowed her to take over the rent-controlled apartment and keep it in the family.

Where is rent control most common?

Out of the 50 states, only five have specific rent control policies in place. The other 45 exempt rent control or have no active policies in place.

The five states that have some rent-controlled apartments are California, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Oregon.

Map of rent control.

Photo source: National Multifamily Housing Council

Pros and cons of rent control

As with everything, there are pros and cons to rent control depending on your perspective and situation.

Pro: Cheaper for tenants

Because rent-controlled apartments have a fixed price for rent, they are very affordable. You will pay the same price for rent year after year, even as your neighbors experience price increases. Rent-controlled apartments are cheap.

Pro: Affordable even when wages don’t increase

It’s common knowledge that rent prices are rising faster than wages are. So, you can live in the same apartment at the same price and still afford it, even if you don’t see a pay bump on your paycheck very often.

Pro: Foster safe neighborhoods

Rent-controlled apartments offer renters financial stability because they know that they can live on a fixed income. When there is financial stability, people will stay in the same location, develop relationships with neighbors and decrease renter turnover. All of these factors contribute to a safer neighborhood and environment.

Pro: Automatic lease renewals

When you live in a rent-controlled apartment, you automatically get the first right of renewal on your lease. Basically, you always have a place to live and can always re-sign your lease at the same rate.

Con: Not always well-maintained

Because of the fixed rent price in a rent-controlled apartment, landlords don’t maintain, update or refurbish them as often because it isn’t profitable for them. At times, rent-controlled apartments have outdated appliances because no one invests in them.

Con: Hard to come by

As we mentioned earlier, there are roughly 22,000 rent-controlled apartments in the wild, so they are incredibly rare and hard to come by. As such, you’ll be frustrated looking for one as the supply is so low.

Con: Landlords often lose money on rent-controlled apartments

If you’re a landlord of a rent-controlled apartment, you’re likely losing money compared to other landlords who can increase the price of rent each year. If you’re a tenant, this is great. But, it’s a con for the property owner.

Reviewing and signing a lease.

How to find a rent-controlled apartment

Rent-controlled apartments are a unicorn in the real estate world. When you have one, hold onto it as they are very rare and you likely won’t have a better deal anywhere, especially in an expensive metro like New York City.

If you want a rent-controlled apartment, you have two ways to find one.

  1. You can inherit a rent-controlled apartment
  2. Research the city or state’s database of rent-controlled apartments

If you can’t find or qualify for a rent-controlled apartment, don’t fret. Rent.com has thousands of affordable apartments all across the country that would be perfect for you. Start your search today!

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or financial advice. Readers are encouraged to seek professional legal or financial advice as they may deem it necessary.

Source: rent.com

Diderot Effect – Psychology of Buying Unnecessary Things & How to Avoid

When I relocated to a new city, I moved from the apartment where I had lived for seven years to a newer one that had been better maintained. When I started unpacking my belongings, I was struck by how shabby my stuff looked in comparison and overcome with the impulse to buy new things for this beautiful apartment.

Thankfully, before I pulled out my credit card and started a buying frenzy, I remembered a short essay I’d read in a college philosophy class and realized I had fallen prey to the Diderot effect.

What Is the Diderot Effect

Named for the 18th-century French philosopher Denis Diderot, this effect describes the phenomenon in which the introduction of a new purchase or gift makes your existing possessions look dingy, old, or unexciting, thus sparking a spiraling pattern of consumption.

Say you buy a new couch, and you start looking at your existing area rug and side tables with a critical eye. So you replace those, and now your whole living room looks newer — at which point, the bedroom furniture starts to look outdated.

The Diderot effect is all around us, and it influences our purchase choices across all categories: the clothes we wear, the items we use each day, even our cars and houses.

So what is the Diderot effect, how does it work, and what can we do to avoid falling victim to the endless cycle of consumption and spending it provokes?

The Origin of the Diderot Effect

A French philosopher active during the Enlightenment, Denis Diderot was perhaps best known as the co-founder of the Encyclopedie, a general encyclopedia published between 1751 and 1772.

Diderot also wrote widely, publishing a number of essays on a range of topics, including “Regrets for my Old Dressing Gown, or A warning to those who have more taste than fortune” in 1769. This is the work in which he describes the phenomenon that would later be coined “the Diderot effect.”

The story goes that Diderot was either gifted or purchased a new dressing gown, which prompted the now-famous essay in which he laments this acquisition. “My old robe was one with the other rags that surrounded me,” Diderot writes.

But once he has the beautiful new robe, everything around him starts to look shabby in comparison, including his physical appearance underneath the robe. He feels the new robe demands that his other belongings keep up with the same high standards, so he begins replacing his old possessions with new ones.

Out go the modest prints he had tacked to the wall, to be replaced with framed paintings instead. He replaces his old straw chair with a new leather one and acquires a fancy inlaid armoire. The rate of accumulation snowballs from there, until he finds himself with debts he must pay by continuing to work and write.

In his essay, he warns readers, “Let my example teach you a lesson. Poverty has its freedoms; opulence has its obstacles.”


The Diderot Effect in Modern Consumerism

Consciously or not, we express ourselves through our possessions, whether they’re brand-new luxury goods or well-loved items passed down through several generations.

Possessions aren’t the only way to tell the world who we are, of course, but they are one of the subtle ways we convey our sense of self to others, often without needing to say a thing. How many times have you tried on an article of clothing or looked at a piece of furniture and thought, “This just isn’t me”?

When we buy things, we want them to fit into our existing tastes and standards. However, when we bring something new into our lives, we can’t help comparing it to the things we already own, which makes us look at the old items with a more critical eye.

Before you know it, the purchase of a new couch leads you to replace everything in the room, from the furniture to the light fixtures, in an effort to make it all “match.” What started as a new sofa becomes a spiral of consumption with no end in sight.


How to Avoid the Diderot Effect

You can probably identify examples of the Diderot effect in your own life. It’s common, especially in our consumer-driven culture.

Thankfully, there are a number of ways to avoid falling prey to the Diderot effect and stop the spending snowball before it picks up too much speed. Here are a few tactics to try.

1. Reduce Your Exposure to Temptations

The less exposure you have to brand-new things, the less likely you are to desire them. No one who lives in modern society can escape advertising entirely; marketing is simply too ubiquitous. But you can do everything in your power to reduce the temptation.

Stay away from physical stores, which are deliberately laid out to trick you into spending more. Avoid online shopping and unsubscribe from marketing newsletters and store emails. Cut down on the amount of junk mail you get and stop following shops and brands on social media.

If you don’t see as many ads or items beckoning for you to buy them, it’s much easier to control your desire for newer, fancier, more expensive stuff.

2. Put the Brakes on Your Consumption

If you have to tell yourself no each time you encounter something you might want to buy, you’ll quickly exhaust your reserves of self-discipline. Instead, set parameters for yourself and your family so you only have to make a single decision.

For example, you might decide you’re done with purchasing clothing new. You can buy secondhand and vintage items, and if you can’t find exactly what you want in those marketplaces, you simply don’t buy anything.

This way, you’re not saying no to fast fashion or retail stores over and over again, every time you walk past one on the street or get a tempting flyer in the mail. You simply decided to say no once and never look back.

Think about how you can impose a similar restraint or rule for your spending in other categories. Maybe it’s as simple as not buying any new furniture or household goods until your credit card debt is paid off, or doing a no-spend month or pantry challenge with your family.

Perhaps you choose a limit for your shopping budget, and once you hit that limit, that’s it for the month — the envelope system is a great way to do this.

3. Lend and Borrow

Instead of buying new stuff, borrow what you need and lend what you have. This strategy can sometimes take a little more effort, but the payoff can be tremendous, both in the cost savings you’ll see and in the relationships you’ll be able to forge with your friends and neighbors.

From lawn mowers to power tools to camping equipment, explore all the ways that you can borrow instead of buy, and be equally willing to lend what you own. Host a clothing swap with your friends. See if your local public library, church, or community center has a kitchen- or tool-lending library. Join a Buy Nothing group or other frugality group in your area, and talk to your friends and neighbors about how to pool your resources.

Borrowing not only saves you money, but it also prevents you from falling into the trap that Diderot did. Rather than buying new items that make the old ones look less exciting, you see these things for what they are — utilitarian items to be borrowed, used, and then returned to their owner — rather than a reflection on you and your tastes.

4. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

Get into the habit of making what you already own last as long as possible.

Instead of replacing a piece of electronic equipment when it breaks, see if it can be repaired. Instead of buying your child a new backpack every school year, have them reuse last year’s or switch with a sibling or friend.

Instead of buying a whole new wardrobe for a new job, refashion or repurpose a few key pieces to quell your desire for something new and match your current aesthetic.

6. Match New and Existing Items

When you’re purchasing items for your home, pay close attention to the items you already own. Look for colors, materials, and designs that fit well with your current stuff instead of feeling at odds or out of place.

Go into a purchase expecting to own each item for a long time, and only purchase things that will fit in with — rather than stand out from — what you already have.

The same goes for your wardrobe. Look for pieces that work with your current clothing and accessories so you can easily mix and match rather than feeling compelled to buy an entirely new wardrobe.

You can still introduce new elements into your style if you want to make a change, but do it gradually rather than overhauling everything in one fell swoop.

7. Follow the “One In, One Out” Rule

One surefire way to avoid thoughtlessly bringing new things into your house is to stick to a “one in, one out” rule. By this rule, every time you bring something new into your home, you must get rid of something else.

Don’t allow yourself to simply set the old item out by the curb and forget about it. Instead, try to sell it on Craigslist, figure out how to donate it to a secondhand store like the Salvation Army, or give it to a friend or family member.

This is more work than simply putting something out for the trash, but that’s the point. By creating a little bit of work for yourself, you’ll be better able to resist the urge to buy new things except for when you really need them. This makes it harder to simply whip out your credit card and buy your way to a whole new living room while kicking the old stuff to the curb.

8. Reframe How You See Physical Objects and Symbols of Wealth

When you see a big new house or shiny car, instead of feeling envious, remind yourself of all the expenses that come with maintaining those pricier items. A bigger house means bigger expenses, from higher monthly payments to higher heating and cooling costs.

A luxury car not only costs a fortune but also requires costly insurance and upkeep. Remind yourself that living more modestly frees up your money for important financial goals, such as saving for retirement or reaching financial independence.

Rather than striving to acquire bigger and “better” things, practice gratitude for what you already have. Consider this famous quote from Epicurus: “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

What are the things you once hoped for that now you take for granted? Make a list of those and revisit it the next time you find yourself wanting to redecorate or upgrade.


Final Word

By employing these tactics before my instinct got the better of me, I was able to keep my new house purchases to a minimum and avoid going over budget. I bought only the things I really needed and picked objects that fit within my current aesthetic.

Using Craigslist and relying on carpentry and other DIY skills to retrofit existing storage solutions and decor, I made my apartment homey and comfortable without falling victim to the Diderot effect.

Source: moneycrashers.com

22 science-backed ways to invest in yourself

A person writing notes in a planner

You’re probably familiar with the value proposition of financial investing: spend strategically in the short-term on things that will pay dividends in the long-term. You siphon small amounts of your paycheck into your 401K each month in hopes that it will double or triple by the time you reach retirement.

But money isn’t the only thing you can manage up front for a greater payoff down the road.

Our time, energy, and focus are all finite resources that we choose to spend according to our priorities on any given day. But if we take a long-term approach to that spending, we can maximize our benefits and invest those resources in ourselves and our futures.

Here are 22 research-backed ways that you can invest now in your future wellbeing.

Invest in Your Goal Strategy

It’s tempting to get started on your goals right away, but it’s worth the effort to pause and invest time in creating a well-formed strategy.

Invest in your Goal Strategy

Invest in Better Habits

It only takes about three weeks to make a habit, so pausing other priorities to invest your full effort in creating positive routines is a small sacrifice you can make in order to set yourself up for long-term success.

Invest in Better Habits

Invest in Your Attitude

Even though changing your outlook is a mental task, it’s an important investment. Taking the time to alter your attitude daily takes effort and energy, but can ultimately improve your mental health and wellbeing.

Invest in Your Money

Financial investment is a personal investment, too. It’s impossible to set yourself up for emotional and physical health if you’re not planning for your future financially, so put effort into cleaning up your finances and making the neccessary sacrifices to take care of future you.

Invest in Your Money

Invest in Your Mind 

Just think about the hours you invested in your education as a child and how much that has paid off in your adult life. Continuing to cultivate your mind will have equally beneficial effects throughout the rest of your life.

Invest in Your Mind

Invest in Your Health

All of these investments can result in greater wellbeing, but there are also direct investments in your physical and mental health that can improve your quality of life later on.

Graphic list of ways to invest in your health

Invest in Others

It’s not just yourself you can spend time, energy and money on — putting your resources into your community can have long-lasting benefits for you, your loved ones and your neighbors.

Invest in Your Relationships

Investment doesn’t always mean setting aside actual money. It means giving any resource — be it your time, energy, or effort — to something now that will pay off in the future. The easiest way to find yourself in bad debt is by neglecting to track your finances. By strategically setting goals for your money as well as every other part of your life, you’re setting yourself up for success and making sure your energy is spent in the smartest way possible.

Sources

APA | Harvard | SAGE Journal | APA PsychNET | Journal of Personality and Social Psychology | Journal of Experimental Psychology | National Center for Biotechnology Information | Harvard Business Review | Journal of Applied Social Psychology | Mr. Electric | The Smart Cave | Science Daily | Forbes | Journal of Comparative Neurology and Psychology | Journal of Personality | Journal of Personality and Social Psychology | Huffington Post | Debt.com | MarketWatch | StudentLoanHero | The Simple Dollar |The New York Times | Science Daily | American Journal of Public Health | Huffington Post | Psychosomatic Medicine | Psychology Today | Neurology | Huffington Post | American Heart Association | British Psychological Society | Physiology & Behavior | TIME Magazine | National Academy of Sciences | Journal of Behavioral Medicine | Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine | Blood Purification | American Diabetes Association | Journal of the American Medical Association | AARP | Corporation for National & Community Service | SAGE Journals | Psychology Today | Canopy Health | WebMD

Source: lexingtonlaw.com

Real Estate Crowdfunding – How These Investments Work, Pros & Cons

Real estate offers a fantastic counterbalance to stocks in your investment portfolio, especially in an era of low interest rates and bond yields. But not all of us have $300,000 just sitting around to start snapping up properties.

Enter: crowdfunded real estate investments. A relatively recent addition to the arsenal of investment options, crowdfunding allows thousands of investors to pool their funds, so each investor can invest a small amount of money in larger projects.

Like all investments, real estate crowdfunding has its own pros and cons, and comes in many flavors and varieties. Before you invest a cent in any asset, you must first understand the risks, rewards, and the role the investment plays in your portfolio.

How Does Real Estate Crowdfunding Work?

On the simplest level, real estate crowdfunding involves many people each contributing a small portion of the greater cost of a real estate-related investment.

But “real estate-related investment” can carry many meanings. Keep the following variations in mind as you explore real estate crowdfunding investment options.

Equity vs. Debt

When you invest money through a crowdfunding platform, does the money go toward the direct purchase of new properties, or toward loans servicing other people’s properties?

If you know publicly traded REITs, you understand the difference between equity REITs and mortgage REITs. The former buys and manages real estate; the latter lends money secured against real estate.

Crowdfunding works similarly. In fact, many real estate crowdfunding investments are REITs — they’re simply sold privately rather than on public stock exchanges subject to traditional SEC regulation (more on regulation differences shortly).

Many private crowdfunded REITs offer both equity and debt REIT options. As a general rule, debt REITs generate more immediate dividend income, while equity REITs include an element of long-term appreciation in addition to income. For example, Fundrise offers several broad basket portfolios weighted more heavily toward either real estate equity or debt investments.

Not all real estate crowdfunded debt investments come in the form of REITs, however.

Peer-to-Peer vs. Fund Investments

In the case of private debt REITs, you invest money with a pooled fund, and the fund lends money to real estate investors as it sees fit. The alternative model for crowdfunded real estate debt involves lending directly to the borrower.

Crowdfunding platforms that follow this model allow you to browse individual loans, so you can pick and choose which loans you want to put money toward. For example, Groundfloor caters to real estate investors — mostly house flippers — lending them money to buy and renovate fixer-uppers. As a financial investor, you can log into your account and review available loans, including details about the project and borrower, and then put varying amounts of money toward as many or as few loans as you like.

Your loan is secured by a lien against the property. If the borrower defaults, Groundfloor forecloses to recover all investors’ money.

Property Type

Some real estate crowdfunding platforms specialize in residential real estate, while others focus on commercial.

Within each of those wide umbrellas, there’s plenty of variation as well. Residential properties could mean single-family rentals, or it could mean 200-unit apartment complexes. Commercial real estate could mean office buildings, or industrial parks, or retail space.

Before investing, make sure you understand exactly what you’re investing in — and more importantly, why.

Availability to Non-Accredited Investors

Some crowdfunding services like FarmTogether only allow accredited investors to participate. Others are open to everyone.

To qualify as an accredited investor, you must have either a net worth over $1 million (not including equity in your home) or have earned at least $200,000 for each of the last two years ($300,000 for married couples), with the expectation to earn similarly this year. So, most Americans can only invest with crowdfunding platforms that allow non-accredited investors.

Before doing any further due diligence, check to see whether prospective crowdfunding platforms even allow you to invest. Otherwise, no other details matter.


Advantages of Real Estate Crowdfunding

These relatively novel investments come with plenty of perks, especially for everyday people with few other paths to invest in large real estate projects. I myself invest in several real estate crowdfunding platforms.

As you compare crowdfunding investments to other types of real estate investments, keep the following pros in mind.

1. Low Cash Requirements

Through crowdfunded real estate investing, investors gain access to expensive investments like hotels, office parks, and apartment complexes that would otherwise remain unavailable to them. I don’t have $5 million to buy an apartment building. But I do have $500 that I’m happy to invest in a private fund that owns apartment buildings.

Although every crowdfunding platform imposes its own minimum investment, some of those minimums remain quite low. Groundfloor, for example, allows investments as low as $10.

Other platforms impose minimums of $500 or $1,000, keeping the minimums within reach of middle-class earners. It marks an enormous advantage to investing in real estate indirectly: you don’t need a full down payment plus closing costs in order to diversify your investments to include real estate.

2. Easy Diversification

With crowdfunding investments, you can easily include real estate in your asset allocation.

And not just through publicly traded REITs, which often move in greater sync with the stock market than with real estate markets because they trade on public stock exchanges. You can invest money toward any type of real estate, residential or commercial, in any grade of neighborhood, spread across many cities in the U.S. or even around the world.

For example, I have a little money invested in commercial office space through Streitwise, and a little invested in residential real estate (equity and debt) through Fundrise’s REITs. I also have money spread among a range of individual loans through Groundfloor. All in all, these investments expose me to real estate in 15 states.

Imagine how much harder that exposure would be if I had to go out and buy individual properties in 15 states?

3. Strong Income Yields

Crowdfunded real estate investments tend to pay reasonably high income yields. Which is always welcome, whether you’re pursuing financial independence at a young age, looking to build more retirement income, or simply enjoy earning more passive income each month. Because when you have enough passive income to cover your living expenses, work becomes optional.

I’ve consistently earned income yields in the 8% to 9% range on my investments with Streitwise and Groundfloor. With Fundrise, I earn around 5% in dividend yield, plus long-term appreciation.

Not many stocks or ETFs offer those kinds of yields.

4. No Labor and Little Skill Required to Invest

As a direct real estate investor, I can tell you firsthand how much skill and labor it takes to find good deals, analyze cash flow numbers, renovate properties, hire and manage contractors, and so forth.

With crowdfunded real estate investments, you outsource all of that to someone else. You just click a button to invest your funds, and sit back and collect the returns.

Don’t get me wrong, direct real estate investment comes with many of its own perks, such as the potential for higher returns, greater control, and real estate-related tax advantages. But you have to earn those advantages with sweat and knowledge, much of it required before you even buy your first property.

This ease of investing through crowdfunding platforms comes with a side benefit: you can automate your investments. Set up monthly or biweekly investments to avoid emotional investing and build wealth and passive income on autopilot.

5. No Property Management Required

It takes an effort not to laugh out loud when tenants call you complaining that a light bulb burned out, and ask you to come over to replace it. Unless the call comes at 3 a.m. — that’s less funny.

Few landlords enjoy managing rental properties, between chasing down nonpaying tenants, hassling with constant repairs and maintenance issues, and all-too-frequent complaints from tenants and neighbors — “this person plays their music too loud,” “that one smells like weed when they pass in the hallway,” ad nauseum. It’s why so many landlords end up hiring a property manager to take the headaches off their plate.

You don’t have to worry about any of that when you invest in crowdfunded real estate investments.

6. Protection Against Inflation

“Real” assets such as commodities, precious metals, and, of course, real estate all have inherent demand. Regardless of the currency you pay with or its value, you pay the going rate based on the underlying value of these physical assets.

That makes these assets an excellent hedge against inflation. If rents drive inflation higher, rental properties only become more valuable, with higher revenues. If the dollar loses value, people pay more for housing and commercial space.

In contrast, investors actually lose money — in terms of real value — on a bond paying 2% interest when inflation runs at 3%.


Disadvantages of Real Estate Crowdfunding

No investment is perfect, without risks or downsides. Thoroughly review these drawbacks and risks before parting with your hard-earned money.

1. Poor Liquidity

It takes a few clicks to sell a stock or ETF. Investors can liquidate their holdings instantaneously, leaving them with cold hard cash.

Real estate is inherently illiquid. It takes months to market and sell properties, and for large commercial properties it can involve hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs. So investors usually hold them for at least five years, and when these investments are funded through a crowd of financial investors, that means individuals can’t easily pull their money back out of the deal.

Most crowdfunded real estate investments advise prospective investors to plan on leaving their money in place for at least five years. Some do offer early redemption to sell their shares, but not instantaneously, and usually at some sort of discount or penalty.

Don’t invest anything you might need back within the next five years.

One notable exception includes short-term peer-to-peer loans secured by real estate, such as those offered by Groundfloor. These loans usually repay within nine to 12 months. Even so, you still can’t easily pull your money back out before the borrower repays the loan in full.

2. Complex Regulation and Performance Transparency

The regulation on crowdfunded investments can quickly make the average investor’s eyes cross. For a quick taste, investors have to navigate between Regulation D investments that fall under either 506(b) or 506(c), and Regulation A and Title III investments — also known as Regulation Crowdfunding or Reg CF.

Regardless, investors can’t use the familiar brokerage account tools that they’re already familiar with to research these investments. The SEC does require crowdfunding platforms to disclose a wide range of information, but it will look and feel unfamiliar for many retail investors.

There is one huge advantage that crowdfunded private REITs have over publicly traded REITs: the flexibility to reinvest profits to buy more properties. Publicly traded REITs must distribute at least 90% of all profits to investors in the form of dividends. That leaves them with high dividend yields but poor prospects for appreciation and asset growth. Private REITs like DiversyFund can employ far more flexibility to build their portfolios.

3. Limits on Participation

The SEC puts limits on how much money non-accredited investors can put into crowdfunded investments each year. Those limits are as follows:

“If either your annual income or your net worth is less than $107,000, then during any 12-month period, you can invest up to the greater of either $2,200 or 5% of the lesser of your annual income or net worth.

“If both your annual income and your net worth are equal to or more than $107,000, then during any 12-month period, you can invest up to 10% of annual income or net worth, whichever is lesser, but not to exceed $107,000.”

They provide a table by way of example:

Annual Income Net Worth Calculation 12-month Limit
$30,000 $105,000 greater of $2,200 or 5% of $30,000 ($1,500) $2,200
$150,000 $80,000 greater of $2,200 or 5% of $80,000 ($4,000) $4,000
$150,000 $107,000 10% of $107,000 ($10,000) $10,700
$200,000 $900,000 10% of $200,000 ($20,000) $20,000
$1.2 million $2 million 10% of $1.2 million ($120,000), subject to cap $107,000

Still, these speedbumps serve as reasonable cautions and protections for the average investor. These investments do come with an element of risk, and shouldn’t make up 70% of your retirement portfolio.

4. Less Protection from Default Than Other Real Estate Investments

When you own a rental property and your tenants stop paying the rent, you can evict them. You own the property, you can insure it against damage, and it comes with a certain amount of inherent value.

Real estate crowdfunding investments don’t come with these protections. You typically own paper shares of a fund, not all or part of a physical asset. Your investments aren’t even secured against the underlying properties with a lien in most cases.

Exceptions do exist, however. For example, when you invest fractionally in loans on Groundfloor, those loans are secured by a lien against real property. If the borrower defaults, Groundfloor forecloses in order to recover most or all of your money.

5. Lack of Control

Although stock investors have little control over the performance of their share prices, direct real estate investors do enjoy control over their returns and management. They can make renovations to boost the rents and property values, can tighten their tenant screening criteria to avoid deadbeats, can even insure against rent defaults.

But when you invest in real estate indirectly through crowdfunding, you surrender control to the fund manager. If they do well, you (hopefully) earn a strong return. If they mess up, you get stuck with the costs of their bungles.


Where Does Real Estate Crowdfunding Fit Into Your Portfolio?

While stocks belong in just about every investor’s portfolio, not everyone feels comfortable with real estate crowdfunding. Still, these investments offer a fine counterweight to stocks when used responsibly.

Your ideal asset allocation is personal to you, and depends on factors ranging from your age, target retirement horizon, net worth, and risk tolerance. I recommend thinking of crowdfunded real estate investments as an alternative to higher-risk, higher-yield bonds and public REITs.

For example, say you aim for an asset allocation of 60% equities and 40% bonds. Those equities include 57% stocks and 3% REITs, and your bonds include 30% low-risk government bonds and 10% higher-risk corporate bonds. You could take part of the 13% of your portfolio earmarked for REITs and higher-risk bonds and test the waters of crowdfunded real estate investments. If you like what you see, you can then move a little more, up to your comfort level.

However, real estate crowdfunding should not take the place of extremely low-risk investments in your portfolio, such as Treasury bonds or TIPS.


Final Word

With real estate crowdfunding, you have the luxury of investing small amounts to gauge the performance of your investments and your comfort.

These investments can play a role in any investor’s portfolio, but that role should start small. Don’t invest any money that would financially cripple you to lose, and do your homework on any crowdfunded investment’s past performance and risk management measures.

Most of all, always keep these investments in the perspective of your broader portfolio and asset allocation. These investments don’t exist in a vacuum — they play a role in a larger performance.

Have you ever invested in crowdfunded real estate? If so, what were your experiences?

Source: moneycrashers.com