For decades, buying a second home was pretty much a single-dimensional experience. You bought a place where you would either vacation, or live for several months of the year (often to enjoy a nicer climate).
But with the emergence of home-sharing services like Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO, second homes are offering you a whole new dimension. Now you can have a place for part-time living, and when you're not using it, the home can provide you with a regular revenue stream.
Purchasing a second home has become a true investment opportunity, not simply a lifestyle choice. So much so that even major hotel chains like Hyatt are jumping in. The key, as always with real estate, is location, location, location.
The data is clear: Homes in the best school districts sell for higher prices than similar homes in less-popular school districts. Research also tells us that one of the most important factors that buyers consider when buying a home are schools. One study shows buyers are willing to pay as much as $50 a square foot extra for a home in a better school district.
A 2013 realtor.com® survey of buyers found that 91 percent said school boundaries were important in their search. Buyers are even willing to give up things to buy near a good school district. One in every five buyers would give up a garage or bedroom. One in three would settle for a smaller home to get access to a good school. Over half would sacrifice nearby shopping options for a better school.
Is being near a top school district important to you?
When you're self-employed, getting a home loan is going to be a little more involved than if you were a salaried employee. There's more paperwork, tighter qualifying rules, and you'll need to show a stable income.
The good news is it's getting easier for you and millions of other Canadians who are self-employed to get approved. Recently, CHMH released new guidelines that are a big plus for self-employed borrowers:
If you're self-employed, talk to your mortgage broker or call Reagan Burton, Senior Morgage Associate and Managing Partner of First Choice Mortgage Solutions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 403-589-0877
Homeowners are expected to spend a near record $317 billion on home improvement this year. The trend is expected to continue, as areas have fewer homes for sale and homeowners have little incentive to move from homes with record low fixed mortgage rates, experts say.
What's the biggest home improvement mistake that most folks make? Over-improving one's home can be the costliest, housing experts say. Remodeling magazine found that only attic insulation netted an immediate return on investment (108%). A new entry door was next best (91%). Even the popular minor kitchen remodel only netted an 80% return.
In time, these improvements will net a return. But sometimes homeowners customize and overspend, thinking they'll sell at a profit in the future, but are unlikely to ever recoup their investments.
Something to keep in mind.