Login
Text only newsletter stories Issue 5 Vl. 4


Feel free to use these stories in your own newsletter designs. If you want to use a completed newsletter template, check out the latest issues of Hometalk and Real Estate Advisor. If you want to use a completely editable newsletter template, please see the News & Views template.


Headline: How do HOAs work?

When you purchase a home, there’s a good chance you’ll have to pay a homeowners association fee, especially in gated communities, townhouses, condominiums, and other similar planned neighborhoods. The idea is to keep common areas clean and maintained, and there’s usually an HOA board that is responsible for setting the rules and regulations.

Each HOA is different, but most have the same core elements. You’ll typically pay your HOA fees either monthly or annually, and it’s an important factor to consider when you’re weighing your options for a new home. So what is typically included in your HOA fees?

First, the fun stuff
Amenities are typically the big perk of living in a community with an HOA. While you lose out on some of the freedom of living without an HOA, you instead get community amenities like a maintained pool, gym, clubhouse, tennis courts, and other amenities. The HOA fees pay for cleaning and maintenance, so—in theory—you’ll always have a clean pool whenever you want to use it.

Protecting the community
HOA fees often contribute to insurance for the community amenities, as well as a fund for unexpected repairs to damaged community property—think damage from weather or accidents.

General maintenance
Your HOA fees will go toward maintaining the general safety and upkeep of the community. This means things like elevator maintenance for condominiums, snow removal, and trash/recycling services.

Be active in the association
There may be a board of directors, but homeowners associations exist for the betterment of the entire community, and every voice matters. HOA meetings—and the amenities they support—provide great opportunities to meet your neighbors and make your community a better place.


Headline: Budget projects with big value

Not all home improvement projects are created equal. Some renovations may cost a lot but not add significant value to your home. This list goes in the opposite direction: Here are some inexpensive home improvement projects that will not only increase your enjoyment of your home, but will also increase the home’s value.

 1. High quality ceiling fans: In a recent National Association of Home Builders survey, ceiling fans ranked No. 1 as the most-wanted decorative item. If your ceiling fans are outdated, replace them with something in the $400 range—it’ll make a big difference when it’s time to sell.

 2. Trees: Mature trees can be worth as much as $10,000 toward the value of your home. Trees also protect your home from the elements and prevent erosion.

 3. Energy efficiency: Buyers are increasingly interested in saving energy, so any efficiency update is worthwhile. Switching from a wood to gas fireplace is a great start.

 4. Outdoor lighting: Exterior lighting is great for highlighting the accents of your home, and you can typically expect a 50 percent return on investment.

 5. Molding: You can finish a room with crown molding or railing for as little as $1.50 per foot if you take a DIY approach, and it’s extremely desirable among prospective buyers.


Headline: How to avoid vacation rental scams

Home sharing websites like airbnb.com are great for getting the most out of your vacation. Home sharing often saves a lot of money compared to similar lodging arrangements at hotels, and it gives you an opportunity to be part of a new neighborhood during your stay.

The downside is that there’s a bigger chance of encountering a scam. No one wants to have their vacation ruined by a fake rental listing, so here are a few easy tips to avoid scams.

Be skeptical of photos: If a property’s photos look a little too good, ask for additional photos. Photoshop and photography expertise can hide a lot of warts.

Only book with a credit card: Scammers prefer to operate with cash. You have a better chance of recovering your money if you only book with credit cards through trusted sites like airbnb.com.

Read the reviews: Sites like AirBNB and VRBO have customer reviews for each property. Read them to ensure that the rental is as good it seems—or that it even exists in the first place.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Real Estate Advisor newsletter template
Hometalk newsletter template
News & Views newsletter template
Newsletter back issues