5 Reasons Why Your First Home Should be an Investment Property

If you’re young and you’re looking to purchase a new home to live in, maybe you should consider turning your first home into an investment property. While most people wait until after they’ve bought their first or second home to begin investing in real estate, you could start much sooner than you think. We’ll explain why jumping into the real estate investing game might be a good idea.

Many people, especially in the wake of the mortgage crisis, have found themselves wondering: “Is buying a house a good investment?” One way to ease your worries about whether buying a house will pay off is by renting out the first home you buy. By turning your home into an investment property, you can leverage your less-than-perfect credit, less-than-perfect lifestyle and limited responsibilities into an investment. All it takes is a little bit of smarts and real estate shrewdness.

The idea of making your first home an investment goes against the general notions of personal finance. In fact it goes against how most people approach post-college life. The typical financial timeline for your average American adult might look like this:

  • College

  • First Job

  • First rental

  • Second/third rental

  • Marriage

  • Starter Home

  • Children

  • Second Home

  • Education

  • Investments

There’s nothing wrong with following that timeline, since it can give you plenty of time to build credit, save money and enjoy being young. But if you’re a 22-year-old college graduate with a solid job (good for you), waiting until you’re well into your 30s or 40s to start investing might not be wise.

Here are five reasons why you should entertain the idea of investing in real estate while you’re still young.

1. You’re Young

Being young and independent can be pretty amazing. You can make your own rules, live where you want, buy what you want and travel whenever you want. But that can get old pretty quickly, especially if you have other goals in mind.

All the money you’re currently spending “living the life” while living in a crappy apartment could be spent on something else. Saving money and building credit aren’t impossible and they’re part of what you’ll need to qualify for a mortgage loan (more on that below). Your current lifestyle might actually allow you to cut costs in a way that might not be possible later in life when you have larger obligations.

If you can learn how to effectively manage your money, you can come up with enough cash for a down payment.

2. Real Estate Prices

According to recent reports from National Association of Realtors home prices are on the rise. However, most real estate markets present many bargains to potential buyers in the form of distressed sales. Distressed sales are homes or properties that have usually been foreclosed on that the bank is willing to sell at a loss in order to clear its books. These distressed sales also help drive down the cost of all properties in the area.

There are plenty of distressed homes for sale. Buying one would allow you to own an investment for significantly less than market value, especially as prices begin to rise. Before buying any property, however, it’s important to make sure you purchase a house that you can afford.

3. You’ll Have Another Source of Income

If you are purchasing a property that you plan to rent out, you’ll be able to profit off your investment as soon as you find tenants. Then you can take the money you earn and reinvest it in your property or use it to pay off other bills and debts.

4. FHA Loans

Industry standards say that you’re required to put at least 20% down when buying a house. But if you can’t afford to pay that much, you might be able to purchase an investment property with much less than that by getting an FHA loan.

FHA loans give people who don’t have the greatest credit the chance to become homeowners. If you decide that investing is for you, an FHA loan could be the perfect way to finance the purchase. There is one catch, however, FHA loans require that you live in the property you seek to purchase. To get around that rule, you can purchase a property with up to four rental units and make one unit your primary residence.

5. Changing Demographics

According to a report produced by the Research Institute for Housing America, homeownership among immigrants nationwide is expected to account for 36% of housing growth over the next decade. This is due in large part, according to the report, to the strong desires among immigrants to become homeowners.

As more individuals and families move to become homeowners, property owners have more of an opportunity to capitalize on that shift. Would you want to miss out on the opportunity to own property in a neighborhood that is set to see values skyrocket? Your future self probably wouldn’t. If you think real estate investing could be right for you but you aren’t sure how to start, you may want to find a financial advisor who can help you understand all your options.

If you don’t know how or where to start, we are happy to help! Call us at 480-359-6789 and we can discuss all your options and can connect with you a great lender as well!

Source: www.smartasset.com

7 Spots in Your Home You’ll Probably Forget to Clean This Spring

No matter how thorough a housekeeper you are, there are certain blind spots in every home that are all too easy to overlook. As a result, they get bypassed during your spring-cleaning tirade, growing grimier … and grimier.

Curious where these surprising cesspools lie? Check out this hit list of areas in your home that we’ll bet you forget to clean this spring—and read on to find the best way to give them a thorough scrubbing.

Tile grout

If you have tile floors or countertops, the grout may harbor germs and mold, according to Mark Welstead, president of Rainbow Restoration. Not only is that awfully gross, the grout will eventually start to stain, meaning an even bigger cleaning job down the road.

How to clean it: Wipe the grout with vinegar, then scrub with baking soda and a brush. You can also try scrubbing with borax or olive oil-based Castile soap. For visibly moldy grout, you need to spray on 3% hydrogen peroxide diluted by half in water. Let it sit for 45 minutes, then rinse. Here’s more on how to clean tile grout.

The tops of door frames, cabinets, and bookshelves

If you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist, and therefore doesn’t need cleaning, right? Sadly, no. The tops of door frames, book shelves—anything above your sight line—are primo dust collection spots. If your upper kitchen cabinets don’t go all the way to the ceiling, the tops are probably coated in dust mixed with sticky kitchen grease. Charming!

How to clean it: Wipe door frames and bookshelves with a damp cloth. For greasy gunk, try rubbing dish detergent on, leaving it for a moment, then wiping it off. If that doesn’t cut it, level up to Goo Gone Kitchen Degreaser. For bonus points, take the glass globe off any ceiling lights or fans, and rinse out the dust and dead bugs.

Garbage disposal

You know that thing is gross, right? I mean, think about what you put into it! Beside general yuckiness, it’s important to clean, because, according to Doyle James, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing, grease buildup can seriously back up your sink drains.

How to clean it: Run hot water and turn on the disposal. Pour a tablespoon of dish soap down, and let the water run for 15 to 30 seconds. Turn off the disposal and let the water run until there are no more bubbles. Scrub the underside of the drain flaps with a brush, hot water, and dish soap.

Toilet brush and holder

You don’t need me to explain why your toilet brush and holder are disgusting. But how do you fix them? What cleans the cleaning implements? There are options other than just throwing them away and buying a new one when it gets nasty (yes, we all know someone who does this).

How to clean it: First off, you can prevent some germ build-up by spraying down the brush with disinfectant right after you use it. Leave it to drip-dry into the toilet, smushed between the seat and the rim of the bowl.

For deep cleaning, you can either soak the brush and holder in a bucket of warm water and a few capfuls of bleach for about 10 minutes, or you can spray them both down with disinfecting spray, let sit for 10 minutes, then rinse with warm water. Yes, bleach is a harsh cleaner, but if you’re going to break out the big guns for anything, it should be the item that scrubs the inside of your toilet bowl.


Curtains are pros at passively catching dust, pet hair, and other particulate gunk from the air. If you’re not cleaning them, you should be.

How to clean it: Start with vacuuming them. And check the tag: Some fabrics can be machine washed, while others need to be hand washed and dried. Very heavy fabrics require a steamer, which you can rent.

Remotes, phones, and keyboards

All three of these items fall into the category of things your grimy fingers touch every day. Research shows that cell phones are dirtier than toilet seats, and keyboards have the added problem of snack crumb infiltration (don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about). Almost nobody is cleaning this stuff often enough.

How to clean it: For your phone, grab a microfiber cleaning cloth (of the kind you’d use to clean glasses) and spray it with a 50/50 combination of distilled water and vinegar or distilled water and isopropyl alcohol. Wipe down your phone thoroughly, without getting it too wet. Use a toothpick or Q-tip to dislodge anything stuck in the crevices.

You can use the same disinfectant and cloth (clean, obviously) on your remote control. Wipe with the cloth, use a Q-tip to go around the buttons, and a toothpick can help with crumbs.

Keyboard time: Flip the keyboard or laptop over and shake it out. Clean with compressed air while the keyboard is upside down, so the dust will fall out. Finally, use a Q-tip and alcohol to wipe anything gross off the keys. To sanitize, you can do a quick swipe with your handy cleaning cloth, lightly moistened with an alcohol or vinegar solution.


When your wintertime fires are over, it’s time to clean your fireplace. If you don’t, you risk a chimney fire, smoke, or even deadly carbon monoxide gas seeping into your home, says Richard Ciresi, owner of Aire Serv in Louisville, KY.

How to clean it: Since cleaning a chimney involves getting up on the roof, and doing it wrong can have serious consequences, you should call in a professional to tackle this task. Once a year is the minimum for having your chimney swept if you want to use your fireplace safely.

Source: Realtor.com

How to Create the Perfect Home Office

A research from a recent Harvard Business Review article suggests that people who work their same office schedule from home get more done per day. The employees’ explanation? The quiet environment helped their productivity. Whether you are using your home office for running your own business or just as a place for paying bills, you want to make sure it’s a productive space that you feel comfortable in.

But what does a home office really need? Here are 6 essentials to get the perfect home office:

Pick a Good Location

You will be spending lots of time in your home office, so make sure that you don’t limit yourself to a space that is small, dark and devoid of natural light. Make sure that your home office isn’t in a high-traffic area where you will find yourself distracted. Depending on how you work best, you may need a room that is completely silent, or you may want a room that has some background sound.

Make the Space Functional

Your shelves, desk and storage should be easily accessible but not overwhelming. Consider your workflow and what items you need handy at your desk before investing in specific furniture for your home office. Your home office furniture should complement the rest of your home’s décor. Make the space your own by adding personal touches.

Invest in a Comfortable Chair

You will spend countless hours at your desk, so make sure that you treat yourself to a comfortable and ergonomically correct office chair. Every penny you spend on a chair that keeps you comfortable while working will be worth it. The last thing you want is to develop back problems because you chose a chair that has poor back support.

Give Yourself Access to Light

Make sure that your home office has plenty of natural light, which will allow you to cut down on eyestrain and headaches. Position your computer monitor so that there is no glare from any windows or overhead lighting. Place a small lamp on your desk to give yourself extra light.

Choose a View

Place your desk in a space with a view of more than just a blank white wall. You’ll want something to fix your eyes on while you’re taking a break from work. It would be ideal if your desk could face a window, but if you can’t find an efficient way to position your desk near a window, make sure to decorate with a pleasant painting or other items you would enjoy seeing above your desk. An inspiring quote is another great option.

Manage Your Technology

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to glamorize your computer, printer and speakers, but you can hide the cords. Make sure your equipment is close to outlets for easy access. Encase the cords on your desk in a nice fabric cord cover, and feed the cords into a desk grommet. Then tame the jungle of cords on the floor with tubing or a wire organizer that is attached to your desk and lifts the cords off the floor.

Keep these tips in mind when designing your home office. Doing so will ensure that you are left with a space that you will enjoy working from.

Source: Walmer Enterprises, Inc.

Top 5 Spring Break Ideas for Families Around Phoenix

Lounging by the pool, exploring the city and just spending time with family. For many, this is the ideal spring break. However, it’s hard to know the best way to spend your short amount of time and get the best bang for your buck. Spending spring break in Phoenix means having near-perfect weather while also having access to water activities, sports and so much more. Whether you’re planning on going big this spring break or keeping it low-key, we’ve got the rundown on the best things to do for families around Phoenix. Here’s our list of the top 5 spring break ideas to do in Phoenix that are sure to bring smiles to every member of the family:

Stay at a resort that has something for everyone

One of the best ways to be sure everyone has a good time is finding a resort that has a little bit of everything. The Arizona Grand Resort & Spa is just one of the options that will make this spring break the best one. First, let’s start with the fact that this resort is near family-friendly Phoenix attractions and entertainment including the South Mountain Preserve, Phoenix Zoo and dozens of restaurants. However, for those who want an all-inclusive experience, this resort also has an 18-hole golf course, luxury spa and a seven-acre waterpark. Get a private cabana and enjoy the endless amenities while the kids play in the wave pool. The resort also has six dining options if you want to stay close to your room.

Spend a day at the lake

Many are surprised that Phoenix is surrounded by beautiful lakes perfect for cooling off and water sports. One of the most popular is Saguaro Lake, about 45-minutes from Phoenix in Tonto National Forest. This lake is popular for not only its views, but the activities that come with it. At Saguaro Lake you can rent a boat, kayak or even go Salt River tubing through the desert landscape. Bring a waterproof camera, as you may spot some of the area’s famous wild courses that hang around the river. While in the mountains, take a cruise on the Desert Belle and see what the area’s really about. Some cruises even include live music or wine, how can you beat that?Finish off the day watching the sunset in the Usery Mountain Regional Park on one of the many trails with stunning views of the desert.

Have a wild time at Wildlife World

Going to the zoo may sound the obvious choice, however, the Wildlife World Aquarium & Safari Park is something your family shouldn’t miss. With a giraffe feeding station, loray parrot feeding and more wildlife encounters, photos from this spring break will be epic. Be sure to hop on the skyride for a birds-eye view of the park. Other rides include an Australian boat ride, family-friendly roller coaster and zip line. After your safari adventure, try the delicious Dillon’s world-famous K.C.-style BBQ with a stunning view of the aquarium while dining.

Make it to a game or two

Phoenix is a destination for sporting events that bring millions of fans to the desert escape. One of the most popular sporting events each year is Cactus League Spring Training, where MLB teams around the country come to practice for the season. Whether you’re a fan of the Diamondbacks hometeam, Chicago Cubs or another baseball team, you can see them right here in the Valley of the Sun. Stadiums are located in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa and Tempe with games available nearly everyday into March. Be sure to get your tickets early and check the site for special promotions.

Don’t forget desert

If you’re thinking of day trips outside of Phoenix, Sedona is a must-see with things to do for the whole family. While on the way to the red rock town, make a stop at Rock Springs Cafe in Black City Canyon, about an hour drive north of Phoenix. With the best pie in the state and local shopping, this is the perfect stop on the way out of the city. Once in Sedona, the family will love hiking the famous Cathedral Rock trail. You’ll also want to check out the Pink Jeep Tours, which give a variety tours around the rugged yet peaceful land. One of the most popular Pink Jeep Tours will even take guests to ancient ruins, giving a bit of a history lesson on your spring break adventure. Then, treat yourself again to prickly pear ice cream (or dozens of other flavors) at Black Cow Cafe. Or, have dinner at the dozens of restaurants lining the city’s charming streets.

Now that you have the breakdown on what’s hot to do in Phoenix this spring break, get booking. These are activities you don’t want to miss out on. Don’t forget the swimsuit and sunscreen and have a blast!

By: Jeremy Alderman, ZOG Digital