Considering Short-Term Rentals?

Short-term rentals can be a highly lucrative investment and a fun way to make money. Some of the advantages to managing a short-term rental property include:  

1. Your tenants are generally excited to be at your vacation property and may not require as much attention as a long-term tenant.

2. You can collect one-time, up-front payments instead of keeping track of monthly or weekly payments.

3. Depending on the location and amenities of your property, you may make several thousand dollars per month per property.

4. Platforms such as Airbnb, VRBO, and make it easy to set up a website to market your property.

A short-term rental investment can be accomplished by purchasing a property to keep rented out or putting your own home up for rent when you travel. Whichever course you take, here are some things to think about before you hang up that “vacancy” sign:  

1. Managing short term rentals is not exactly passive income. There is quite a lot of work involved in marketing the property, keeping it maintained, and turning it around between tenants. Consider whether you have the time to keep up with it yourself or if you will need to hire a property manager, and how much that will cut into your profits.

2. Think beyond vacation rentals. Short term rentals don’t have to be on the beach or a ski slope. Other reasons why someone may need a rental in your neighborhood include job interviews, waiting to close on a home, renovating a home, visiting family, traveling with pets, college tours, entertainment events occurring in the area, or having medical procedure done at a nearby hospital.

3. Do your due diligence when buying an investment property. You’ll want to assess the existing short-term rental market and find out what the going rates are and which areas are renting well. You should find out if there are HOA or condominium regulations that prohibit short-term rentals. Also inquire as to state, county, or city regulations and resort taxes.

4. Create a business plan. Many property owners wing it with their short-term rentals, but you will have more peace of mind and less surprises if you treat your rental as a business. Make a list of expenses, including insurance, mortgage payments, taxes, cleaning and handyman services, utilities, internet and TV, lawn or pool care, furnishings, consumables you will provide, and marketing costs.

5. Work with an agent who listens to you and communicates clearly. Remember that the purchase of the property is the bigger investment than the rentals to follow.

Don’t hesitate to chat me up about your goals and ideas – I am here to help.
Maria 🙂

Learning to Laugh

“When you laugh you change, when you change the whole world changes” – Dr Madan Kataria

I am learning to laugh. I don’t mean to say here that I don’t know how to, or don’t laugh often, because I do. I am learning to laugh in a different way… I am learning to use laughter to lighten me up, lift my mood, and relax my body. I am learning to laugh when I don’t feel like it.

When life gets busy, and I enter rush-rush mode, I get tense. I forget how to relax – it is not that the thought slips my mind, it is like I don’t remember how to. Everything gets tight, moods gets serious, and eventually, I lose balance. My goal now is to use laughter even when I don’t want to – finding a way to feel better when I need it the most.

When I first started doing Laughter Yoga sessions, I felt so silly. It was harder than I imagined, and I caught myself tense, scared, even. But I was able to loosen up, and as I started to laugh, I felt the benefits. I am now a believer (LOL). I have been able to start belly laughing out of nowhere. If you want to give it a shot, try this very short TEDx video below. If the idea interests you, there are plenty more videos to try in YouTube. Why not?

Laughter is medicine… and here are some of the benefits:

  • Boosts your immune system
  • Lowers stress and eases anxiety
  • Relieves pain
  • It’s an ab workout, really (nothing like a belly laugh!)
  • Enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles
  • Reminds you to lighten up and play
  • Quickly boosts your mood

Did you try it? Did you feel silly?
It is weird at first, but worth it in the end
Trust me.

8 Reasons Why Real Estate is the Best Investment

Real estate has long been considered a solid investment for many reasons. It is a relatively safe and easy way for people to build wealth beginning with a small amount of money. If you are interested in investing in real estate, I’d be happy to help you find the right properties in Door County.

Here are some of the ways investing in property can help you build an investment portfolio.

1. Real estate investments can provide you with a reliable and steady cash flow. Investing in rental properties is relatively easy as expenses are predictable and if your properties remain occupied you know what to expect in terms of profit margin.

2. Real estate appreciates in value. Real estate consistently appreciates, even during economic downturns, making it one of the more reliable investments. On average, real estate in the US appreciates between 3-5% annually.

3. Real estate investments help you retire. If you have been paying on your mortgage throughout your working years, you will experience greater cash flow as you near the end of your mortgage term and the principal is paid off.

4. Real estate sales are taxed at a lower rate than other income. When you sell your property, you are taxed short- or long-term capital gains which are usually lower than income tax brackets.

5. Real estate equity can be leveraged. One of the most attractive reasons for investing in real estate is the ability to leverage your money. When you take out a mortgage to purchase property you reduce the amount of capital required. As you build up equity in the property, you borrow against the equity or refinance the original loan, freeing up cash to buy another property.

6. You have control to improve upon your asset. Unlike an investment in stock, where you have no control over how it performs, you can improve upon your real estate investment. Updating or upgrading systems, finishes, appliances, and landscaping helps build value in your investment.

7. Real estate gains taxes can be deferred. Under the 1031 exchange tax code, you can invest the gains from the sale in one property to the purchase of another property without paying taxes on the gains.

8. Real estate investments are depreciable. This is confusing, but you can legally claim a depreciation expense on an investment property even though the value of your investment property is actually appreciating. The depreciation deduction allows investors to generate a higher cash flow while reporting a lower income for tax purposes.

Still, it has to feel right. As I always say… emotions matter in real estate, so only go forward with an investment that feels right to you. Always listen to your gut, and hopefully you will make the right move 🙂

7 Tips for Saying Goodbye to Sentimental Belongings

When I moved to Door County, back in 2007, I had to leave a whole life behind. All that I treasured wasn’t going to fit in my two allowed international luggage. I had no choice but to only keep what truly mattered. I chose my favorite clothing items, and pictures. I packed my bags, and bye bye. No, it wasn’t easy, but the move taught me something very important: what truly matters is not physical, and I survived leaving a whole life of material goods behind.

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When Your Heart Is Born

When my daughter was born, I knew right away: nothing would ever be the same.

Love like I had never known overflowed inside me, and with all that love, vulnerability. And with vulnerability, fear. Motherhood is a work of balance, constantly. Sometimes I look at my girl, and love takes over me, overpowers me, and at the height of that feeling, I also feel a weird understanding that I have given away all control. I have no control over my daughter’s choices, over her moving around and falling, over her heart and her heartbreaks. When you become a Mother, your give birth to your heart. Your heart, beautiful and vulnerable. Your heart, full of love and potential. Your heart, brave and scared, all at the same time. And we have to let go. We have to allow our children to be. We have to allow them to fall and get hurt. We have to allow them to have pain and suffering. And that… is hard. It is hard to look outside of you and watch your heart, out there, living, and being vulnerable to Life.

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Home Is Where Love Resides

“Home is where love resides, memories are created, friends always belong, and laughter never ends”. Unknown

This past weekend I was home, mostly resting, after my second vaccine. Being home is healing, my family took care of me, and I felt the love.

It is easy to take home for granted, isn’t it? We get home from work, or school, often tired. We are crabby, overwhelmed. Sometimes I come home and the first thought that crosses my mind is: “oh my, I have so much cleaning to do, look at this mess, oh, the dishes, the laundry”, and so on. Yeah, life will always get a little dirty.

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