Smart Home – what does it mean?

We encounter the expression “smart home” everywhere today. But it means much more than clever refrigerators and intelligent lighting. Smart home is when your house “thinks” and makes your everyday life as easy, safe and pleasant as possible. Thanks to a smart home, you save precious time. Smart devices organise annoying routine tasks for you. The goal is comfort, entertainment, energy saving and security.

Smart Home how does it work?

The principle can be summed up in the following; Various electrical devices and sensors are interacting and communicating with each other. Often, you can control Individual devices and even entire systems remotely. In this way, a simple and complex process can be automated.

How does the communication work?

Lying by the pool and starting the oven with a roast for dinner? Or making a coffee while still in bed with your smartphone? With Smart Home, such comforts have long ceased to be a vision of the future. At home, the devices communicate using standards such as WLAN, Bluetooth, KNX data cables or even directly via the power line.

All are proven standards and almost all current smart home devices and systems can be installed and operated very easily today – via an integrated display, smartphone, tablet or even a voice control.

Which devices can be controlled in a smart home?

In principle, every electrical device and system can be controlled smartly. Therefore, it is often possible to optimize comfort, safety or efficiency at once. Lighting, heating and air conditioning systems are typical areas of application for smart homes such as controlling canopies, blinds and shutters. Entire lighting concepts can be conveniently controlled and automated.

A message on your smartphone as soon as your laundry is finished?

Thanks to Smart Home, this is not a problem.

But it gets even better, entire home security systems can be controlled as well. While you are away, it is very easy to check that everything is fine at home using your smartphone. If someone rings at your door you can even see who it is and answer at the intercom. You simply access your intercom and cameras at home via the Internet.

Want to buy or sell your home? List it with us today.

Homes are still selling despite Covid-19

As latest numbers are in, there is a wave of relief going through the real estate sector. The good news is, homes are still selling.

No doubt, the covid-19 virus will have severe consequences on the real estate market, but it seems with low interest rates people are still buying homes.

All over the world people have lost part of their income due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The first shock

When the coronavirus hit the world most of us were under shock. I never spend so much time to watch the news than the first weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, always checking the latest numbers. After a couple of weeks though we kind a got used to it – although there are still moments when the whole situation seems incredibly unreal.

It is true that we also saw a decrease of visitor to our website for a couple of weeks but we are happy to say that all numbers are back to normal now. People are still interested in good real estate deals and they didn’t give up of buying homes.

Homes are still selling – a home is one of the basic needs

One reason might be that people became more aware of their “needs” rather than their “wants”. Staying at home and trying to keep everybody in the family sane has shown many the importance of having a home that has everything they need. Having a home definitely is a need. Even if someone needs to downsize and move to a smaller more affordable home it still means that there is movement and therefore home sales are happening in the real estate market.

Challenge to close the sale

In some countries it has become more challenging than in others when it comes to closing the sale legally. With solicitor and notary offices closed or not fully operational this is really a challenge. But surely, as some countries have already started to lift their covid-19 lockdowns this will just be a matter of time.

Time for new ideas

All these new challenges truly have given fuel for new ideas and innovations to simplify the home buying process.

Stuart Miller from Lennar Corp., one of the USA’s largest homebuilders, said they are working on new ways for buyers to buy houses, including through the company’s digital programs as well as drive-through closings, where homebuyers can close on a home through their car.

Positive Outlook for Real Estate

To know that homes are still selling is really good news. It helps us, home buyers as well as sellers, to see the future more optimistic. It’s been a nerve wrecking couple of weeks, even months for some. For me it was great to see how quick real estate agents adapted to the new challenges and finding alternative ways of showing homes to interested buyers.

Keep up the good work.

Time of opportunity for a real estate investor?

The covid-19 outbreak has affected every industry. As new unemployment numbers come out it leaves people speechless. There is no guide book for times like these. Some real estate investor may see a opportunity to hunt for real estate offers.

Many home owners didn’t have the money to pay their mortgage this month. Also, many tenants could not pay their rent as a result many landlords are in trouble to make their mortgage payments. Looking at the current mess on the real estate market many see this as an opportunity for property investors. Some already speak of a real estate recession.

But not so fast

Of course, we can already start thinking about possible consequences for the real estate market. Nevertheless, we need to keep in mind that we don’t know yet what exactly we will have to face as this covid-19 pandemic continues.

A possible scenario

One scenario would be a compressed but normal recession and it would probably look a lot like the 2008 recession, but quicker and deeper. Of course, it is not difficult to imagine other set-ups where a larger disaster awaits.

There is not much else you can do than to…

Stay positive

We should not forget that the real estate market moves very slowly, and the covid-19 pandemic is still young.

It is very unlikely that all of a sudden people will sell their homes for next to nothing. Even if home owners get under pressure because they can’t pay their mortgage anymore, we need to keep in mind that this will happen to thousands of people – most probable they will receive some sort of help to prevent them from losing their home.

Time of opportunities

No doubt, there are and there will be more opportunities for a real estate investor. This is a good time to go hunting for real estate bargains.

Real Estate Investor to the rescue

At the same time, nobody feels good about taking advantage of disaster. Therefore, it has to be noticed that many will be happy to find buyers quickly even if it means to sell for less. A real estate investor may be able to give exactly that help that the home seller needs at this time.

Find great real estate offers on www.propertyunder100k.com

Less new home listings

Spring is naturally a time when sellers put new home listings for sale as more people are looking for a house to buy. Home sellers hoping to take advantage of the buyers new born enthusiasm after the winter period. But this year, new listings dropped significantly in March and early April as the Covid-19 outbreak embraced the globe. 

Real Estate Portals report less new home listings

Zillow, inc. reported yesterday that newly listed homes in the U.S. were down 27.1% from a year ago in the first week of April. They reported that the number of newly listed properties usually increases in late March and early April as home buying season starts. This year it’s been quite the contrary as many states have suggested or instructed people to stay at home. New listings in the U.S. have fallen 19% from the beginning of March.

No surprise

We can see the same trend happening on our website with international real estate listings. The number of new listings dropped slightly as well as the number of people who made enquiries about real estate offers.

It is totally understandable that people had other things on their mind than getting a new home. Nevertheless, after the first weeks past we can now see that the number of enquiries is slowly coming back to normal.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Social distancing cooled the real estate market

While the covid-19 outbreak and the resulting social distancing have cooled the real estate market considerably, it isn’t completely motionless. Buyers, sellers and real estate agents have started to change their activities as they adapt to public health requirements. They make 3D Home tours available or make home viewings via video conference.

Therefore, it seems like a good time now for all home sellers that are in a wait-and-see-mood to get their home for sale out there.

Need for new homes is still there

Although there is a particularly strong wait-and-see pattern similar to what happened during past pandemics we can see that customers still interested or actually needing to buy a new home even if they are not going to walk-throughs or able to close on transactions in person. Especially smaller and cheaper properties are in high demand.

List your home for sale

If some predictions turn out to be true and house prices will fall dramatically due to the covid-19 outbreak wouldn’t it be better to sell your house today rather tomorrow?

Don’t wait any longer, list your home for sale today.

Real Estate After Quarantine

This temporary quarantine made many people think about their values and goals in life as well as their work situation and their homes.

Although, this isolation is only temporary, life itself has always and will continue to change.

Our social interactions will be different for months, if not years to come. Our economies will eventually grow again, but the way we do business will have progressed. This is true for real estate as well.

Next time I like to quarantine on a tropical island…

One thing is certain, everybody needs a place to live, therefore real estate will always be needed. As much as everybody would like to improve their homes to be able to quarantine in style in case this happens again, it has to be considered that the financial situation of most people changed. Therefore, the housing market needs to adapt. Cheap real estate will be needed more than ever before. “Cheaper” meaning more cost effective.

This of course can mean that people have to downsize or reconsider what they really need in their home – simply back to the basic needs.

“Cheaper” doesn’t mean uglier

It’s true that many houses for sale that are on the lower end of the price range don’t look too good. But to be honest most of them only need a little bit of TLC and they can be a cosy home.

If you need to downsize, why not sleep on a sofa bed in the living room?

How can real estate agents adapt to this new situation?

You as a realtor can continue to do what you are really good at – be there for your clients and understand what they need in their circumstances. This is a new situation for all of us and for some it may be hard to adapt. Maybe some can’t picture themselves in a smaller, simpler home.

Whatever step someone needs to take, you can be there to help and make this a good experience.

What exactly does this mean?

You have to think outside the box, but yourselves in the buyer’s shoes. It maybe time to rethink how real estate deals where done in the past and see new ways that can make the whole process simpler, more time effective and more cost effective.


Will you go with the flow, let the waves take you wherever they go, or will you build a ship and go your own way?

Pick your boat and get on your way.

What is your idea of real estate after quarantine? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Target buyers where they are: at home

This is the longest period of time most of us ever spent at home non-stop. The risk of COVID-19 has grounded about 1.5 billion people worldwide, meaning people are engaging with their homes more than ever before.

Regarding real estate this means that many people have time to think about their living arrangements. They may see things they like to improve in the house or they might shop around for a new house that suits their needs even better.

Whatever the reason why someone may shop around for a new home, it’s simply amazing to see how realtors have already adapted to the new circumstances. I saw that many newsletters were send out by them to keep their clients informed and engaged.

Target buyers who are at home

Also, they started to offer some great new services to buyers, for example to make a house viewing via video conference. While the agent would walk through the house for sale the client can follow along while sitting at home. The agent would explain while doing the walk-through and answer any questions that arise.

Another less personal but equally effective way to target buyers is the virtual tour, where the real estate agent made a video recording of a house viewing and puts this video online. It might surprise how many people will actually look at it who otherwise would have never asked for a house viewing.

My absolute favourite is the 3D tour. As far as I know, the real estate agent needs some special equipment to make a 3D tour for a house but from all options this is probably the best. The 3D model that is created allows anyone to “walk” through the house. It is similar to Google Street maps just indoors.

What about private seller?

Well, nobody can stop you from doing your own video where you walk through your house for sale. This is something everybody can do.

This is definitely some positive side effect of the COVID-19 and I hope this new digital strategy for real estate is here to stay. It saves a lot of time for buyer and seller – house hunting can be very time consuming – as this already helps to get a good overview of a property.

Make working from home your success story

The cat is sitting on your lap, your kids are screaming and running around you, here you are finding yourself with your laptop at the dining table trying to cope with this new challenge of working from home.

This is a sudden and new circumstance for all of us. Because of the coronavirus pandemic many employees are finding themselves in this new situation of working from home. It has its advantages but also comes with its very own challenges.

How to make your home office successful

Here are a few tips how you can stay motivated and effective at your new workplace within your own home.

# 1 – Keep the routine

Even if you are working from home now there is no need to get floppy. Stick to the morning routine you had before, wash, get dressed, look professional. This gets you into the right working mood and you don’t need to fear the video conference with your boss or clients.

# 2 – Sit at the table – dedicate a space just for your work

Although it might be very tempting to work from the sofa or even laying in bed, but there are more advantages to have a dedicated spot just for your work. This will help you to don’t mix your leisure time with work and keep things separate. Keep everything you need for your work close at hand. Like this it will be easier to focus on your job.

# 3 – Stay concentrated

That’s probably the most challenging of all. There may be kids, pets or your partner that are moving around in the same space distracting you with all sorts of things. If you can’t have your own room to work in peace, it might be good to speak with them and arrange a quiet time so you can stay focused on your work. The less distractions possible the better.

# 4 – Make small regular breaks

Don’t forget to make small breaks just as you would get before at the office. Get a tea or coffee, walk around a bit, stretch, call a friend… whatever you like to do in your little break.

Always remember, working from home is no vacation. It is very easy to get distracted and sometimes difficult to stay focused but with a good routine and planning it will be no problem.

You might get so good at it that you don’t want it to stop. 😉

If you are a real estate agent and wondering how you can find more clients online, list your real estate ads for free on https://www.listproperty4free.com

Does your house stinks?

There are certain smells that sometimes are unavoidable in an empty old house but some are so bad that they can ruin your real estate business altogether. If your house stinks it can be a big problem.

Have you ever been at a house viewing and the first thing you noticed when entering was a musty mouldy smell?

Well, it’s not very pleasant to say the least. It immediately gives a bad impression. Nobody wants to live like that. But if you see it from a business point of view it might be a different story. If a house stinks, you might be able to see what the problem is and be confident in how to remove it.

It happened to me when viewing a house in Germany.  I was visiting an old house together with my family and when that musty smell hit us at the time of entering our immediate reaction was “no way!”. After a couple of months though we had to admit, there was no other house available anywhere near our budget.

That’s why we came back to it and actually looked at the problem. It turned out that the problem was some humidity in the basement. The basement was all panelled up with wood which also didn’t help much. After a long family meeting we decided, we go for it.

It definitely paid off.

We removed the mouldy wood and did some treatment to the basement walls. The smell was gone and never came back. And best of all, we were able to get our family home within our budget.

That’s the advantage when buying, you are able to get a house with a bad smell cheaper. Of course, you have to be confident that you are able to remove the problem causing this smell.

When selling, it would be wise to spend some money in solving the problem before. Or, maybe there isn’t even a severe problem. Sometimes it just needs a bit of care, like opening the windows regularly in an empty house. Especially before a viewing.

Bad smell that is really harmful

There are certain smells though that are really harmful for your business. It’s those that can’t be solved on a low budget or maybe they can’t be solved at all. Therefore, it is advised to make some counts before jumping into a “smelly” business. One example of a smell problem that can’t be solved would be a nearby pig farm.

Bad smell that can ruin your real estate business

I recently came across a neighbourhood in Portugal located near a paper factory. On photographs all the houses look lovely and it seems to be a really nice place to live. Unfortunately, visiting and smelling the place ruled out any real estate business in this area. Unless you have clients that lost their sense of smell. 😊



UK house prices rise in early 2020 despite Brexit

It seems optimism returned among buyers and sellers – house prices rise across the UK as a result.

After 10 quiet months, property prices rose in November and December 2019.

The average price for a home in December was £215,282, according to Nationwide building society, one of the UK’s largest mortgage lenders. Property prices go up by 0.1% every month.

In January they said property values were 1.9% higher than a year earlier – up from 1.4% in December and the fastest yearly growth since November 2018. The average price for a home now stands at £215,897 – up £615, or 0.5% higher than in December.

In further evidence that the housing market is picking up, inquiries from would-be buyers, agreed sales and the number of real estate coming on to the market all rose in January.

Some surveys have also suggested a price bounce in the housing market since the general election in mid-December, although much will depend on how the Brexit after effects develop.

No doubt, we’re seeing a lot of enthusiasm among buyers since the beginning of this year but we cannot yet tell how sustained this optimistic mood will be.

By the way, price growth in London has fallen to 0.6% since the referendum. This will be welcome news for many people who are interested in becoming homeowners in London. Although it still remains far from affordable for most of us.

One challenge remains though

Raising a deposit to get on the property ladder is still difficult for many. Even in the north of England and in Scotland, where property appears to be cheaper, it’ll take someone earning the average wage more than five years to save up for a 20% deposit.

Are you looking for a property bargain or – as house prices rise – you think it’s a good time now to put your real estate on the market? Visit www.propertyunder100k.com



How to get rich with real estate – or poor

Isn’t that what we all want to know? I always wanted to get rich with real estate. It seems like a simple enough equation but what appears to be a simple method in theory is very often not found in reality.

First and foremost: A property must generate cash flow

Here you can see the basic components that decide the income and therefore the regular income from a rented real estate. Generally, the property has to make profit. The income from your property has to be higher than what you spend. This is a simple and most important rule if you want to make money from renting.

Cashflow is the “key” so to say – just with this income we increase our available capital, which we can spend as we like. We have to take all costs for the property in consideration though, everything – running cost, repairs, maintenance… etc. – to be able to calculate the expected cashflow.

Our goal should also always be to invest as little, if possible, no equity at all. Because on the one hand we can maximize our return on equity and on the other hand we keep our own money with us. In other words: we are looking for bank offers that finance 100% of a real estate for us. To do this, of course, as borrowers, we have to meet the banks requirements. Those costs for a credit also have to be taken into consideration.

How to get rich with real estate – cashflow is the most important

After considering all costs our cash flow should still be positive. Some may now think: there is no such property available by any means. But they do exist! Granted, you may need some time to find them. But why not have a look at our real estate listings? Surely you will find some interesting properties.

The same of course is valid if you are trading with real estate instead of renting it. The only problem is that it will take longer time to generate cashflow as you don’t get money on a weekly/monthly basis. It might be a bit more difficult to get by until you make a sale. You can list your real estate for free on www.listproperty4free.com

Make your homework

Also, if you are buying and selling properties for a living make sure you check with your revenue office beforehand to know how much of you profit will need to be paid in tax. This is also an important figure to keep in mind, in some countries this tax is very high.

Also, you might need to register yourself as a business depending on your local laws, this is always good to investigate before you start as it can be a real game changer.

Conclusion

I did not get rich with real estate but I’m able to make a living without needing to go to a job every day. That was my goal and I’m happy that I reached it. I had to start small though and I’m glad I did as I learned a lot with my smaller projects bringing me to where I am today.