Stay Fit With a Home Gym

Build a home gym and you could keep your physical fitness regimen on track. Depending on the size of your yard, you could also extend your home gym to outdoor areas, allowing you to absorb natural sunlight and vitamin D while you work out at home. For example, you could jump rope or lift dead weights outdoors.

If you have a finished basement, consider using that space to install your home gym. Instead of carpeted floors, consider going with tile. Treadmills and other heavy exercise equipment can grind tears into carpet over time. Following are types of equipment and accessories that could help you get an energetic workout right at home:

Wall mirrors – There’s nothing like watching the results of your hard work pay off. Wall mirrors also help you to see where you need to make adjustments. You might think that you’re lifting manual weights for optimum results when, in fact, you’re curling your back or not getting a full arm extension when working with dead weights.

Floor mats – Department stores sell floor mats for $20 or less. You can do yoga exercises, as well as warm up and cool down exercises on floor mats.

Dead weights – Start with dumb bells and work your way up if you’ve never worked with weights before. Some dumb bells go up to 100 pounds. Sports stores and department stores sell weight bars and plates that you can also work out with. Leave enough room in your basement to lift and lower weights without bumping into doors, walls or other equipment.

Treadmills – Price compare treadmills before you buy them. More expensive treadmills come with televisions and DVD players. Some treadmills may also have computer plugins. Because you’re already at home, consider foregoing these options to save on costs.

Exercise bike – Working out on an exercise bike takes pressure off of your joints and limbs. For optimum cardiovascular and muscle building results, set your exercise bike to recline and increase the tension. Choose an exercise bike that comes with built in measurements like heart rate and calories burned and you can monitor your results in real time.

Rowing machine – A rowing machine gives your arms, legs, lungs and heart a good workout. Similar to a home gym exercise bike, a rowing machine can help you stay fit without putting a lot of pressure on your joints.

Balance balls – These balls come in different sizes and colors. They are great for stretching, coordination and balance.

Boxing bag – Boxing isn’t just for the pros. You can use a boxing bag to kick or hand box, improving your coordination, balance, flexibility and strength.

Add a home gym at your residence and you could save $10 or more a month in gym membership dues, not to mention the money that you’ll save on commuting costs. A home gym also puts exercise equipment like treadmills, weights, exercise balls and bikes within a moments reach. You could wave good-bye to the days when you didn’t exercise because you got off work after the gym closed or because you had to start work before the gym opened. As with any exercise regimen, consult with your physician before you start working out.

What You Should Know Before Buying Investment Property

The real-estate market is starting to recover: U.S. houses lost $489 billion in value during the first 11 months of 2009, but that was significantly lower than the $3.6 trillion lost during 2008 and things only continue to look up.

While the timing may be right, you will need to have all your ducks in a row. An investment purchase is different than your typical purchase.

Consider your options.

Have a strategy and know what kind of investor you would like to be. Ask yourself if you want to be a landlord, or are you planning on flipping or restoring and reselling properties. What types of properties are you interested in? There are many choices from land, to apartment buildings, residential housing and other commercial real estate.

Partner with experience.

Real estate agents experienced in investment property deals know what to look for in a deal. You may also want to consider asking a more experienced real-estate investor for advice. If you plan on becoming a landlord make sure to familiarize yourself with the local laws regarding being a landlord.

Location, location, location.

If you buy a property with hopes of renting it out, location is key. Homes in high-rent or highly populated areas are ideal; stay away from rural areas where there are fewer people and a small pool of potential renters. Also, look for homes with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms in neighborhoods that have a low crime rate. Also think about potential selling points for your property. If it’s near public transportation, shopping malls or other amenities, it will attract renters, as well as potential buyers if you decide to sell later. The more you have to offer, the more likely you are to please potential renters.

Have capital lined up.

Speak to potential lenders or a financial planner about what you will need for assets and cash flow. You will need to have enough assets to handle the ups and downs that could come with investing. Most experts suggest a fallback of about six months of mortgage payments for landlords. You will need this in case or vacancy or repairs. If you’re planning to fix up a home and sell it, you will need reserves to cover the costs to maintain the home while it is on the market.

Becoming a real-estate investor is much different than being a residential homebuyer. A buying decision is a business decision not one based on emotions.

3 Tips for First-Time Home Sellers

After a lot of thought, you’ve decided to add your house to the real estate market. However, as a first-time home seller, there’s plenty you’ll need to know to ensure you can maximize your house’s sale price.

Here are three tips that every first-time home seller needs to know before you list your house on the real estate market:

1. Be realistic when you price your house.

What is your home worth? It’s the million-dollar question that every home seller needs to consider, because how a home seller prices his or her house may determine how quickly a residence sells.

Ultimately, you’ll want to be realistic when you price your house. You’ll want to find the sweet spot, i.e. a price that makes your house attractive to prospective homebuyers yet ensures you receive fair value for your residence.

To price your residence appropriately, be sure to get your house appraised. Also, you’ll want to look at the prices of similar homes that currently are listed on the real estate market or sold recently, as this will enable you to determine the right price.

Of course, pricing your home competitively will increase the chances that it will generate a lot of interest. And if you do your homework, you’re sure to find a fair price that meets your needs as well as the needs of prospective homebuyers.

2. Think about what you’ll want to do with your appliances.

Do you want to bring your major appliances (like your refrigerator, washing machine and dryer) to your new address? If not, you’ll want to account for these items and include them in the price of your home.

Comparatively, you may be able to use your appliances in a home negotiation. For instance, you might seal the deal with a homebuyer who is on the fence about making an offer on your home if you offer to include your appliances in the purchase price.

On the other hand, if you’re in love with your appliances, you need to be ready to bring them with you to your new home. As such, you may need to lower the asking price for your house to account for the fact that a homebuyer will need to buy new appliances.

3. Take a proactive approach to promoting your house.

When it comes to selling your house, you’ll want to make it as simple as possible for homebuyers to find all of the information they need to understand why your residence is a great choice.

For instance, using high-resolution photographs to showcase your residence online can be exceedingly valuable. You also can eliminate clutter from your home and maintain a clean, spacious residence, one that homebuyers can view at any time.

Don’t forget to collaborate with a first-rate real estate agent, too. With an experienced real estate professional at your side, you’ll be able to promote your home to the right homebuyers at the right time consistently.

Use the aforementioned tips to get ready to sell your house, and you can increase your chances of optimizing your residence’s value in any real estate market.