Categories
Moving

Moving to Portugal – The Best Communities for Expats

 

If you are moving to Portugal for any reason, you have to know what communities are the best for ex-pats. Fortunately, Portugal is a friendly country regardless of your local or ex-pat. There are plenty of properties that suit ex-pats, and some of them are discussed below:

Lisbon – It is a perfect place for the young at heart. It’s the center of Portugal where you get to experience the buzzing city life, although not as hectic and noisy as the cities in the USA.

Cascais – A 30-minute drive from the Lisbon airport, and you will reach the fishing village of Cascais. If you don’t like city life’s hustle and bustle, Cascais is perfect for you. Back in the days, it was the destination of choice for royal families because of the beaches and the warm sunny weather. It’s a quaint village that was able to retain its sophisticated charm throughout the years.

Porto – Many Americans who decided to be in Portugal choose Porto because of the scenery and ambiance. It can be considered an old fishing town and the second-largest city in Portugal. The cost of living is less expensive than in Lisbon.

Algarve – Another charming place for Americans who wish to move to Portugal is Algarve. You can take advantage of the Golden visa Algarve propertyYou can take a look at the property selection, and avail perks especially offered to ex-pats. The Algarve’s golden coast is something you should not miss visiting with its beautiful scenery, pristine beaches, and eye-catching rocks along the shoreline.

There are plenty of properties waiting for you for ex-pats who move to Portugal via the Golden Visa Program. You can also check out Lagos property for sale PortugalIt is where great opportunity awaits for Americans who love to be in the beautiful country of Portugal.

Categories
Rent

Things You Should Know Before going Apartment Hunting

Is apartment hunting making you feel intimidated, frustrated and all things confused? You pack up all your stuff, endure the almost endless struggle of looking for apartments, and finally making a choice, only to have to deal with a huge brokerage or a nosy landlord. Well you aren’t alone. Some people, just like you, who had to go through the struggle of getting a place to their tastes are now working very hard to bring you professionally managed accommodation experiences. Stanza Living is one. Here, you’ll get all the privacy of living in an apartment, and none of the ‘hidden’ costs. With delicious meals, amenities geared to your comfort (housekeeping, laundry, WiFi, security and more) built into your monthly rent, they’ve made living choices so much easier.

But even if you’re not making a smart choice and opting for Stanza Living, we still want you to have a smooth apartment hunting process. And you will. With these essential tips and tricks designed to help you choose well

Start looking at the right time

If you’re choosing to move because you’ve got into your dream college or been offered a job at a top firm,  you probably have time to plan out the process. Begin apartment hunting a couple of months in advance of your target move-in date, especially if you’re moving to a metro city like Mumbai, Delhi or Chennai which are bound to be high in demand. Want to save on the expense and expand on the options for your dream apartment? Consider looking at places slightly further from popular areas but that balance comfort and affordability. After all you don’t want to get stuck with commute timings too!

Research is everything

If you’ve shortlisted some apartments, make sure you do your background checks. Watch for red flags, like a subpar review online or a potential landlord who refuses to communicate with you. If you’re moving for college or work, you’ve probably got an idea about how long you’ll be in the city. So double-check your potential lease lengths. You don’t want to expect a year’s lease only to discover it’s a short-term rental, or on the other hand, a three-year contract. Also, familiarize yourself with the different types of apartments and amenities available in your area. A kitchen and a kitchenette are not the same, neither is a studio apartment and a 1BHK.

Budget for everything, not just rent

Living in an apartment comes with a bunch of other costs – utilities, internet, groceries, domestic help, transport… not to mention the security deposit. Make sure your salary or college allowance will allow you to cover all of this and still leave you with enough to spend on the things you love. And if you’re moving to a new city, it’s a good idea to do your research beforehand, as the cost of living in Chennai may be quite different to living expenses in Mumbai.

Trust your instincts

If you have a bad feeling about an apartment, the landlord, or the neighborhood, skip it. You don’t want to end up stuck somewhere that makes you uncomfortable just because you’ve signed an agreement. Also, don’t sign anything until you’ve seen it in person. We’re the first to admit that virtual tours are great, but there’s a lot that goes unnoticed through a screen. Before you put down a deposit or sign an agreement, make sure you’re visiting your apartment to see you’re actually getting what you pay for. It’s a good idea to check potential apartments thoroughly for things you might ordinarily overlook – low water pressure, broken or unusable windows, and rotting floors.

And there you have it. Our tips to ensure that you have the easiest and most stress-free time apartment hunting. Because we want you to feel right at home, wherever you go.

Categories
Real Estate

Why opting for homeowners association management services is a good idea

A Homeowners Association (HOA) is responsible for providing services to the community based on a predetermined agreement. However, the work can be tiring for the board of directors. As a result, most of the associations resort to hiring a HOA management company. The decision made to hire HOA management companies should be given due importance because the type of company hired can have a positive influence and long-term impact on communities. Worthross Texas offers various services which include HOA management. The company also offers one of the best homeowner’s association management services in Colorado, USA.

Here’s a list of the benefits of hiring a HOA management company:

Makes financial and administrative responsibility easy: The HOA management companies can manage the policy affairs of homeowners associations. They can easily deal with the financial responsibilities like paying invoices, collection of dues and imposing of fines. The property management company in turn hires service providers for routine maintenance and special repairs, if necessary. They maintain detailed records of meetings and audits.

Experienced team: HOA management companies have extensive experience in managing properties. They ensure that the association affairs are carried out as planned, by implementing and interpreting the rules and regulations with clarity.

Professionally licensed team: HOA companies handle the job that might require professional knowledge with in-depth understanding of property management. Management companies in some states require specialized license. These companies consist of experts who are professionally educated in property management.

The professionals can be regulated through testing and training to make sure that they maintain high standards of conduct. The community managers are liable to pay fines if they interfere in association affairs in a way that might conflict with the existing regulations. The directors of homeowners’ associations need to make sure that the property management company is certified and properly licensed.

Can provide legal guidelines: The property management companies are responsible for offering legal advice about the state laws that would affect the community. They help in keeping the community up-to-date with new legislation. The association management has the power to supervise the implementation of association laws. Hence, hiring a HOA management company ensures that the members observe rules and regulations.

They ensure the community is well-maintained: A HOA Management Company always aims to serve the interest of the community. They make sure the environment is safe, favorable and healthy by ensuring that the air and water is clean. They also make sure that the housing security and economical neighborhood is well-maintained.

A real estate management company that offers full services might help homeowners associations in development of the community. Their legal knowledge and management expertise can help in developing and enforcing a set of rules and regulations consistently and clearly. It is their responsibility to also ensure the environment is suitable for living to all homeowners. For these reasons, it’s important to confirm that you are working with a reputable and trusted company. Worth Ross offers the best homeowners association management Colorado, USA. Worth Ross in Texas too has experienced teams of experts who can help many associations achieve their goals and objectives.

Categories
Buy & Sell

How Homeownership Today Differs From the 90s

The younger millennials are now in their mid-to-late twenties, and yet, many of them still don’t own a house. Many are also still single. When asked why they’d rather marry late, you’d usually hear answers such as “We couldn’t afford the lives our parents lived.”

Indeed, unlike the baby boomers, millennials have higher debts, particularly student loans. As such, buying a house at their age seems like a far-fetched idea. But some have done it already, thanks to a higher income and good credit.

But that’s the problem — millennials earn 20% less than baby boomers. With regard to their debt, fortunately, 43% have never accumulated more than $50,000. But still, today’s costs of living hinder them from making major purchases, such as a home. Even with a full-time job, many people, not just millennials, feel that their income isn’t enough to sustain all their needs.

So will house-buying ever become easier for them? Or should they leave that hope in the 90s forever?

The Impact of the 2008 Financial Crises

Housing crashed in 2008, and the older millennials back then had felt its impact. Though the market has long since recovered, it challenged everyone’s mindset about buying a home, which was that a house is an investment.

Since the financial crisis left tens of millions owing more than their homes were worth, the belief that a house in investment had been reversed. Apparently, homeownership isn’t an investment, according to Potomac Wealth Advisor’s president, Mark Avallone. He added that homeownership is instead a lifestyle choice for people who desire the freedom of having their own house and land. If you’re still hoping for a great return from your home purchase, you’re still dwelling in the 90s.

Aaron Hendon, a Realtor with Christine & Co., states that homeownership has worked well over time, but only for the sensible ones. So he advises to buy within your means, buy slow and smart, buy where you want to live and be aware that the housing market has been a stable growth driver.

Overall, just because a house is no longer an investment means that buying one has become a bad idea. The shelter is a basic need, but we won’t thrive in a rental forever. Hence, if you have a good credit record, use it to your advantage and get in touch with reputable mortgage companies. If your options are looking great, then you may start with your home-buying journey.

Costs of Living: Then vs. Now

Regardless of whether you decided to buy a home now, the costs of living will remain a challenge. Government statistics show that while household income has increased, it didn’t keep up with the pace of inflation. Indeed, a dollar’s purchasing power today cannot compare to that of 20 years ago. The current costs of buying homes, cars, and other high-value items has grown at a rate that outpaces inflation.

As of January 2020, a $20 item in 1999 costs $31. Correspondingly, a $194,800 house in 2000 would become worth $297,705 in January 2020, as per an inflation calculator.

To prove that household income has failed to keep up, the Census Bureau shows that the median household income in 1999 was $42,000. Using an inflation calculator, that figure should’ve grown to $65,191 in January 2020. But as of 2018, the median household income was just $63,179 — 5% less than what it should’ve been.

Wages and Home Prices

Bruce Ailion, a Realtor with Re/Max, states that real estate prices are directly tied to wages. But if wages are growing at a rate of 2%, while housing grows at 6%, then a home would be unsustainable.

Over time, home prices have grown around 4% yearly, while stocks have gained almost 10%. Though stocks could also crash, it’s easier to get out of it during a crisis. This means that even if a home is your biggest investment, it’s not necessarily the best or the most profitable over time.

But again, homeownership isn’t at all bleak. You can focus on its long-term gains instead of its day-to-day costs. Sure, prices of goods are rising while wages barely do, but you can sleep better than a night in your own bed, in your own house.

Besides, you can build equity from your home. As you repay your mortgage, the percentage of the home that’s all yours becomes bigger. For example, if you bought your abode for $350,000, and you owe $200,000 on your mortgage, then you already have a $150,000 equity.

And with substantial equity, you can receive cash after you’ve sold the home, borrow against it through a home equity loan, or use it to make a down payment on your next home purchase.

Bottom Line

Life may have been easier in the 90s, but we can’t dwell in the past and keep resisting the present. Our only choice is to move forward, and carry on with our plans if our instincts tell us that it’s right. So even if it’s harder to buy a home now, do it regardless, because waiting for things to get better may just result in precious time wasted.

Categories
Investment

When Is the Best Time to Hire a Contractor Instead of DIYing

Nowadays, DIY has become extremely common. It is considered the cheaper and more convenient option for many. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the best option. Specific projects would be better done by a construction company or a professional such as a general contractor. It can be risky and cause a lot of issues if you are to make a mistake.

For those looking at future projects, here are all the times when it would be better to hire a service rather than do it yourself.

Materials

When it comes to securing quality materials, it is always better to buy from someone you know. Not only does it guarantee the quality, but it also means you can get a good deal out of items. When it comes to finding cheaper materials, then a construction professional would have the upper hand. Contractors can access suppliers and get their materials for way more affordable. More than that, they also buy in bulk, so the cost is further reduced.

Recent reports found that construction materials have steadily been increasing because of a variety of factors. For one, there is a shortage of workers who are manufacturing said materials. This worsened when the previous administration enforced a 2 percent tariff on materials from China last 2019. The industry is still hurting from the shortage and additional costs because of this.

Partnerships between suppliers and companies have also allowed them to buy specific items at wholesale prices. For things like floor tiles and wooden planks, this can make a huge difference because you need quite a lot of them for every project. They can even have the item replaced if it seems like the material in question are not that good.

Quality of Work

This one depends on your objective opinion. If you believe that your skills are still mediocre, then hiring a professional may be the better option. They generally have more experience doing various tasks, so the chances of something going wrong is less. Their knowledge of building structure can also prevent accidents and destruction in essential areas.

However, that doesn’t mean that DIY is the worse option. A lot of simple tasks like painting and tiling can be done by anyone. Building furniture or room separators can also be something that you can DIY.

On the other hand, specific tasks require a pro. Electrical and plumbing-related tasks need to be handled by someone with training and certification. These require more technical knowledge that you can’t merely Google. Aside from that, it can also cause some serious damage if you mess up. Faulty wiring is one of the leading causes of house fires, so you have to be careful.

Insurance

One of the top reasons why people prefer contractors is the insurance. If someone gets injured on the job or something gets damaged in the process, insurance will ensure they will be covered. When you’re DIYing, the costs of medical bills, replacement, and additional materials will be done by you.

Insurance also allows specific projects to stay within budget. For contractors, they are expected to do their job well without minimal mistakes. Any major errors they cause, the same people will fix and replace them. That means you don’t have to spend extra on materials because their insurance has it covered.

Permit

Tasks that alter the structure and internal wiring of a home will generally require a permit. If you are building a segment to your house, such as a garage, you will need a license. Adding new sockets and changing the wiring also requires a permit. That is because these tasks are supposed to follow specific building codes and regulations.

This task can be done on your own, but it can be a hassle and cost a bit of money. Demolition jobs and extensions would also require a permit, and if you don’t comply with the regulation, you can get into trouble. The requirements will also include descriptive layouts of the house and the project itself. There is a chance that your permit will be denied as well because you are not a professional construction worker.

What makes this even more inconvenient is the fact that there will be individual permits per task. For instance, the permit for electrical and plumbing projects will be separate from the ones related to the construction of a new home. If you get the help of a general building contractor, they will run the process for you.

With these ideas in mind, you can decide whether to go the professional or DIY way. You can avoid unnecessary expenses and too much wasted time on a task.