How to Track Your Net Worth All in One Place [A Personal Capital Review]


What I was looking for was some program that would automatically track my net worth for me. It didn’t take me long to find exactly what i was looking for: Personal Capital.

View the full article: How to Track Your Net Worth All in One Place [A Personal Capital Review] on The BiggerPockets Blog. This content is Copyright © 2017 BiggerPockets, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Why association rental restrictions are controversial but necessary-and how to implement them

Association Rental Restrictions: 7 Tips for CAMs | Buildium

Why are association rental restrictions such a hot button issue? Frankly, it’s because owners and community associations both have a lot at stake-and their interests are in direct opposition to one another.

Why do associations restrict rentals? If a community’s percentage of owner-occupied homes gets too high, their insurance rates may spike, and future residents may have trouble getting loans. Many also fear that renters have less of an incentive to take care of the home than owners would.

On the other hand, circumstances do arise where homeowners have no choice but to rent out their homes-and allowing renters is preferable to homes being foreclosed upon. It may also be harder to sell homes in the community if renting is off the table.

Here’s our advice for working with association boards to strike a rental restrictions agreement that works for everyone.

Implementing Association Rental Restrictions: Tip #1

Choose a Rental Cap

Rather than prohibiting rentals outright, explain to homeowners why the association needs to set a limit on the number of homes being rented out. In addition, it might help to involve them in the process of choosing where the cap should be based on current owner occupancy guidelines from lenders like Fannie Mae and the FHA.

Implementing Association Rental Restrictions: Tip #2

Set Time Limits

Require all homes to be owner-occupied for a set amount of time before they can be rented-for example, two years. All new owners should be notified of the association rental restrictions during the purchasing process to avoid any issues down the road.

Implementing Association Rental Restrictions: Tip #3

Leave Room for Exceptions

Though exceptions should be very rare, some states require that associations bend the rules for “hardships,” which might include homeowners who are deployed by the military or required to move for work. Knowing who your current and prospective residents are is imperative to understanding which exceptions make the most sense.

Implementing Association Rental Restrictions: Tip #4

Let Owners Take Charge

Owners should retain the ability to choose renters and enforce most rules. The homeowner should provide the board with the renter’s lease and contact information. The landlord has to provide renters with your CC&Rs, and specify to all involved parties who will be responsible for fulfilling any obligations-for example, paying fees and mowing the lawn.

Implementing Association Rental Restrictions: Tip #5

Welcome Renters into the Community

Treat renters as potential homeowners-they just might become the most dedicated members of your community when they’re ready to buy a house.

Implementing Association Rental Restrictions: Tip #6

Include a Grandfather Clause

If you do decide to ban rentals, include a grandfather clause for current owners. Some homeowners may rely on rental income to survive. Requiring them to eject renters on short notice could result in foreclosures or vacant properties-which means that no dues are being collected, and the value of nearby homes could be lessened.

Implementing Association Rental Restrictions: Tip #7

Consider Sunsetting Rentals

Consider “sunsetting” rentals rather than banning them immediately. Set a reasonable deadline (such as two years) by which all homes need to be owner-occupied.

It often seems as though controversy is inevitable whenever community associations limit the ways in which owners can utilize their homes. However, by setting and enforcing rules in a transparent and fair way, association boards increase the likelihood that homeowners will understand that association rental restrictions are in their best interest to keep property values moving up and to the right-while being realistic about the nuances of the market.

The post Why association rental restrictions are controversial but necessary-and how to implement them appeared first on Buildium.

How The Art of Real Estate Leverages Updater to Go Further for Clients

The Art of Real Estate (AoRE) is a full-service brokerage that prides itself on going the extra mile to make their clients feel cared for. Based out of South Carolina, AoRE focuses on their commitment to clients through outstanding customer service and an innovative approach to problem solving and technology. We spoke with Brad Allen, Broker-in-Charge and Managing Partner of AoRE, to learn more about their dedication to customer experience and how Updater fits seamlessly into their business.

What do you see as the biggest challenges new agents face in delivering an impressive client experience?

One of the biggest challenges for a new agent is lack of experience. New agents simply don’t have the knowledge that an agent with 15, 10, or even five years of experience has. It takes time to build confidence and knowledge of the market, specific areas, and the business process as a whole. Until they reach that point, new agents need to immerse themselves in the real estate market, take the lead in educating themselves, and seek out industry mentors.

Another challenge that new agents face is learning how to interact with different types of clients. Successful agents know how to communicate frequently and effectively without being overbearing. Agents walk a fine line as they must act as an educator, a navigator and a calm voice of reason all in one. This is especially true when working with first-time homebuyers.

What do you believe is the most important piece of advice or guidance you can provide a homebuyer?

That’s a great question. To begin with, I would advise them to do their research on specific neighborhoods based on criteria that are important to them. This includes everything from price, to the feel of the community, to school districts if applicable.


After they’ve done their research, I would tell them to trust their agent and let them be their guide through the process. It’s their profession, so let them do their job to help you! Finally, I would tell them to go with their gut, but at the same time, don’t bite off more than they can chew. If a house feels right, it probably is. But if it’s five bedrooms and you only need two, check back in with your gut.

In your opinion, what need is Updater filling or what problem is it solving for your clients?

Updater is relieving our clients’ stress of having everything transferred to their new address. Using Updater takes significantly less time than scouring the internet to find out what moving tasks need to be accomplished and how to accomplish them. Updater helps streamline the moving process for our clients and provides them with a seamless process for transferring their mail and utilities from their old home to their new. All in all, Updater helps our brokerage look extremely professional.

 What have been your clients’ responses to Updater?

Most feedback we receive is that our clients would use it again in a heartbeat. Several of our agents have used it for personal moves and have been able to tell clients how easy it is. It’s a one-stop shop for our clients. During the busy time of moving, it’s something they really appreciate. The feedback we have received has been nothing but positive!

‘Flip or Flop’: Tarek El Moussa Accuses Christina of Making a ‘Horrific’ Choice


“Flip or Flop” is a fascinating cocktail these days-of amazing house flips and edge-of-your-seat tension between now-divorced business partners Tarek and Christina El Moussa.

In the latest episode, titled “Two Houses for Sale,” Christina throws her ex a real curveball: In addition to remodeling a three-bedroom, two-bath house in Buena Park, Christina decides she wants to put their family home up for sale-the one she got in their divorce.

“It’s really too big, and it has a lot of baggage,” she says. “It’s sad, because a lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into making this house our own. There are so many memories.”

But it’s also making their joint-custody commute a living hell, and she’d like to find something closer to where Tarek is living.

The only problem is how to tell Tarek. Christina is afraid he’ll be upset by her decision, and she’s not wrong. When he hears her news, Tarek tries to avoid talking about it-or talking at all. This takes a toll on the house that they’re renovating. Perhaps in a subconscious effort to get his attention, Christina has the exterior painted dark gray and lime green! It’s outrageous.

“The colors are horrific,” says Tarek once he sees it. “This is the worst color scheme ever.”

“I have to agree, the lime green is a bit extreme,” says Christina, as she goes off to pony up an additional  $4,500 to have the  entire house repainted dark gray with white trim.

Tarek is not without his mistakes, either. He’s so preoccupied about the sale of his family home, he loses track of the progress on the bathrooms in the reno, and the workers install tile in the shower that looks “like blue jeans.”

Tarek admits that it’s his fault for miscommunicating with the workers and not keeping his eye on them, but “I’m not going to tell Christina that.” They opt to stick with the denim-colored tile, because replacing it would cost them even more time and money.

They’ve bought the house for $465,000, the comps are around $640,000, and they estimate about $70,000 is needed for the renovation. So they should be able to make a hefty profit. But with all these flare-ups and flubs, that’s not a given.

As they scramble to pull this project out of the money pit, they come up with some pretty interesting ideas to put this home in top-dollar condition. Take a look and learn.

Flipping is like a box of chocolates…

“… You never know what you’re going to get until you walk through the door,” says Tarek as he and Christina tour their latest reno project and find an electric organ, of all things, that appears to be in good condition. They reminisce about some of the weird things they’ve found in the past.

“Walking into a house with Christina is one of my favorite parts of this job,” Tarek says wistfully. He emphasizes that listing photos never tell the whole story. It’s important to visit the home in person to know exactly what you’re getting into, and you might even find some fun bonuses.

The difference between a wet vs. dry bar

There’s a huge bonus room in the back of the house that’s reported to be permitted, and it has the strangest thing: a pint-size, L-shaped bar in the middle of it.

“What is this?” Christina wonders aloud. “I can’t decide if this is a wet bar or…” Tarek cuts her off before she goes too far making a fool of herself.

“A wet bar is usually wet,” he says, noting that there is no sink or water source in the bar. So, it’s a dry bar, duh.

Flip or Flop
Christina and Tarek El Moussa discuss the definition of a wet bar.


Beware the smell of gas

There’s an unpermitted laundry lean-to outside, and the moment they step through the door, they smell gas.

“Don’t light a match,” jokes their contractor. They quickly vacate, taking care to not inhale the fumes, and call the gas company. The smell of gas is something to take seriously; the whole place could have exploded in flames.

Hide the stud

Flip or Flop
The support beam blends right in with the kitchen peninsula.


There is a huge stud in the middle of a wall they’d intended to demolish to create an open floor plan. But when they take down the wall around it, they find it appears to be supporting the entire home, and the whole thing might come crashing down if they remove it. They opt to build a kitchen peninsula up to it, so it’s not just standing there in the middle of the room. It ends up looking quite intentional, and helps to define the kitchen space.

One pattern is plenty

Christina has selected a fun, gray-and-white-patterned tile that she’s going to use throughout the house to tie the rooms together. While she smartly uses it on the floor in the bathrooms and selects a solid color for the walls and showers, she uses it as a backsplash in the kitchen and selects solid-color flooring to go with it. A room should have only one prominent pattern, or it will look too busy, she explains.

Flip or Flop
Christina makes tile selections.


Define an open space with different areas

That bonus room really is huge, and Tarek says he worried that it will look like a big barn, but the stagers are very clever, and they define separate spaces with furniture. There’s a game area, a TV area, and a few conversation areas. It looks perfect!

Does this home end up a flip or flop?

“Even though this house did have a lot of issues, it was a great project and it looks amazing,” admits Tarek.

The potential buyers think so, too. Even with the “blue jeans” showers, they’re impressed-particularly with the kitchen backsplash, and the large but cozy open space in the bonus room. Christina and Tarek accept an offer of $639,000, and they net a $69,000 profit after expenses.

“This is what makes a great team,” adds Christina. “We work through the mess and make it into something awesome. It didn’t work that way for our marriage, but it still works for flipping houses.”

The post ‘Flip or Flop’: Tarek El Moussa Accuses Christina of Making a ‘Horrific’ Choice appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights |®.

Is There a Lien on My Property? How to Check

Is There a Lien on My Property? How to Check


“Is there a lien on my property?” If this is something you’re wondering about, then you’ll definitely want to find out, pronto. You might think you already know about any liens on a property you already own, but the fact is they can lurk beneath your radar and pop up at the most inopportune times. Topping the list: when you’re getting ready to sell your place, and a search of public records uncovers the lien. This can be very bad news, resulting in delays in selling your home or, worse, throwing a wrench into the whole deal.

The good news is that finding out if there are liens on your property is simple-and by finding out early, you can take steps so that it will not hinder selling your home, whenever that takes place. Here’s how to find out if there’s a lien on your property, and what to do if you do find one.

What is a lien, anyway?

In the most basic terms, a lien is a legal notice that’s attached to your property title because of an unpaid debt. It gives the unpaid party a legal claim to a portion of your property when it’s sold, and you typically can’t sell or refinance your property if the lien isn’t cleared.

Liens fall into three primary categories:

  • Mechanical/contractor liens: Mechanical liens result when homeowners hire contractors to perform home improvement projects, but fail to pay them for their services and materials.
  • Tax liens: Tax liens are filed due to unpaid taxes, including local property tax liens and those filed by the IRS for missed federal tax payments.
  • Judgment liens: Judgment liens result from court cases in which it was ruled that you owe money to the other party. They can include settlements related to child support, unpaid credit card debt, and medical bills.


Sacha Ferrandi, co-founder of Source Capital Funding, says homeowners won’t always know if a lien is a filed against their property.

“A notable exception is if you buy a newly built home, and the contractors or subcontractors were never paid for their work,” Ferrandi explains. “Contractors and subcontractors can file liens without notifying the home buyer.”

Also, sometimes mistakes are made, and there may be a lien wrongly filed against your property or a lien that remains on record for a debt you’ve already paid. Fortunately, in those cases, you can take some simple steps to clear them up with your county clerk.

How to check if there’s a lien on your property

Liens are a matter of public record, so it’s simple to find out if there’s one on your property, or on anyone else’s property for that matter.

In most states, you can typically search by address with the county recorder, clerk, or assessor’s office online. The search for liens is free, though you may have to pay a small fee for a copy of the report, which will vary by county.

You can also hire a title company to do the legwork for you, but there will be a charge, and for the most part it’s going to do the exact same thing you’d do anyway. If you have your eye on a property, it’s a good idea to conduct your own search as well so you don’t run into any surprises at the last minute.

Find a lien? Here’s what to do

If you do find a lien on your property (or one you want to purchase), don’t panic. If the lien is paid off already, you may just have to contact the appropriate party with proof in the form of a lien release. But if it hasn’t been paid, you’ll need to sort this out before your home sale goes through.

“Liens can become an issue for everyone involved, particularly if the total liens on a property add up to more than the contract price,” says Klaus Gonche, a real estate agent with Re/Max in Fort Lauderdale, FL. If so, “the seller will have to bring cash to cover the difference at closing. If the seller lacks the cash available for this, the buyers will have to either help clear the lien with their own funds or walk away from the deal.”

The post Is There a Lien on My Property? How to Check appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights |®.

How to Slash Your Food Bill in Half (AND Support Good Health)


Your expense will vary based on the amount of people you are supporting. But for the average, single American, let’s assume $6,000 per year, or $500 per month. This article is going to show you a way to slash that in half.

View the full article: How to Slash Your Food Bill in Half (AND Support Good Health) on The BiggerPockets Blog. This content is Copyright © 2017 BiggerPockets, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Luxe $65M Soho Penthouse Is the Week’s Most Expensive New Listing

Soho 65 mil penthouse

A three-level penthouse in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood on the market for $65 million is the most expensive new listing on® this week. 

The sellers gut-renovated the pricey spread after purchasing it for $17.8 million in 2011, according to Mansion Global. Should the sellers get close to their asking price, it could potentially break a record for downtown Manhattan. 

The building, located in the Soho–Cast Iron Historic District Extension, gained fame when Heath Ledger, who had reportedly rented one of the lofts, was found dead in his bedroom of an accidental overdose in 2008.

Before the building was converted into condos in 2010, it housed a typewriter factory, a dust removal company, and an art gallery, according to the New York Times. 

Kitchen with fireplace and vaulted barrel ceiling

Dining area

Master floor with bedroom suite and 20 closets

Bath on master level

Outdoor terrace

The sellers are distressed asset investor David Matlin and his wife, Lisa Matlin, who are now looking to downsize after embarking on a deluxe reimagining of the space, according to the New York Times.

Despite Matlin’s background, there’s nothing distressing about this investment. Let’s take a tour. 

The “bespoke residence” is a “one-of-a-kind” Soho loft transformed into 8,000 square feet of living space, with four bedrooms, six bathrooms, three levels, and 3,700 square feet of outdoor space.

The Roman and Williams–designed abode took four years to complete. Custom features include fabricated steel doors, windows, and skylights. Starting on the fifth floor, a direct-access elevator opens into the great room, with six oversize windows overlooking Soho, 15-foot ceilings, and opposing wood-burning fireplaces encased in granite.

The eye-popping kitchen includes a 20-foot-tall brick barrel ceiling with a black granite counter, wood-burning fireplace, butler’s pantries, and wine rooms.The floor also features a second master suite with private terrace, guest room with bath, and an office.

A staircase with bronze railings and cantilevered black marble leads to the floor entirely devoted to the to-die-for master bedroom, which includes dual bathrooms, 20 custom closets, a dumbwaiter, coffee bar, fireplace, and dual private terraces.

One flight up, the top level opens to entertaining terraces with an indoor-outdoor glass canopy, fireplace, fitness room, a second kitchen, and dining room. Additional terraces boast a heated spa, garden with fountain, and dining room. There’s also a staff room and a bathroom on this level. 

The boutique-style building from 1880 features just four units with 24/7 door attendants. A new owner also receives exclusive access to a rear yard, two parking spaces, and 700 square feet of cedar storage rooms. 

The Soho neighborhood is filled with shops, restaurants, galleries, and proximity to public transit.

J. Eric Becker of Corcoran and Emily Beare of CORE hold the listing. 

The post Luxe $65M Soho Penthouse Is the Week’s Most Expensive New Listing appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights |®.