How to Make a Furnished Apartments Feel Like Home

March 27, 2010

Furnished apartments, or Corporate Furnished Apartments, consist of a complete housing package that includes all rent, furniture, housewares, linens, and utilities including telephone and cable at a flat rate that is typically lower than the cost of staying in a hotel. While corporate Furnished Apartments leases are usually short term leases of around 3 months, they can also be as long as several years or as little as thirty days. Living in a furnished apartments is better than living in a hotel because on average corporate housing offers double the square footage over a hotel room and comes with a kitchen that is fully equipped with all cooking essentials. This makes Corporate Furnished Apartments ideal for military personnel, business travelers on an extended stay, or those relocating to a new city. If you find yourself living in a furnished apartment, however, it can be difficult to make it feel like home. Here are eight tips for making your corporate apartment feel as intimate and personal as any permanent living arrangement:

1. Buy some plants. While many furniture set-ups include a fake fica or two, it helps to green up the space with some live plants as well.
2. Hang photographs of friends and family. It’s comforting to wake up every morning to familiar faces.
3. Bring a pet along. Although some properties have breed and weight restrictions, and also restrict the number of pets you can have, it is comforting to bring along an animal companion for the trip, and it gives you something to focus on other than work.
4. Take care of your apartment like you would your home. This means more than just keeping it clean. Notify your provider immediately of any maintenance requests.
5. Unpack your suitcase. If you’re only staying for 30 days, you might be tempted to leave things in your duffel bag. However, placing your items into the dresser drawers will help you to take more ownership over the space.
6. Rearrange the furniture. As long as you exercise caution with the condition of the walls, and the furniture itself, there’s really no reason not to make sure that the design of the space reflects the personality of the owner. Feel free to rearrange the couches and chairs as you see fit.
7. Bring along some of your favorite books, a favorite lamp shade, etc. Including small home items that aren’t too disruptive to install into the space can help you feel like the place is yours.
8. Maintain important routines. This tip kind of reflects that your inner state of mind will have a direct impact on the way you live in the space around you. If you maintain the same routines which you do at home, such as exercising at a certain time, or cooking a favorite meal on a certain day of the week, the space will feel more like home and you will be more at peace with your living arrangements.

Corporate Furnished Apartments, and your corporate provider’s friendly support staff, should only enhance the comfort of your stay. If you find yourself at odds with your space, it’s important to take the time to assert a little ownership over the Furnished Apartments. In the end, where you live and the way you feel about your home will impact your performance on the job, and more importantly, it will directly affect the quality of your life.
for more details visit:http://corporate-furnished-apartments.com

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Real Estate Agents and the Internet – How to Buy and Sell Real Estate Today

February 20, 2010

Ten years ago, a search for real estate would have started in the office of a local real estate agent or by just driving around town. At the agent’s office, you would spend an afternoon flipping through pages of active property listings from the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). After choosing properties of interest, you would spend many weeks touring each property until you found the right one. Finding market data to enable you to assess the asking price would take more time and a lot more driving, and you still might not be able to find all of the information you needed to get really comfortable with a fair market value.

Today, most property searches start on the Internet. A quick keyword search on Google by location will likely get you thousands of results. If you spot a property of interest on a real estate web site, you can typically view photos online and maybe even take a virtual tour. You can then check other Web sites, such as the local county assessor, to get an idea of the property’s value, see what the current owner paid for the property, check the real estate taxes, get census data, school information, and even check out what shops are within walking distance-all without leaving your house!

While the resources on the Internet are convenient and helpful, using them properly can be a challenge because of the volume of information and the difficulty in verifying its accuracy. At the time of writing, a search of “Denver real estate” returned 2,670,000 Web sites. Even a neighborhood specific search for real estate can easily return thousands of Web sites. With so many resources online how does an investor effectively use them without getting bogged down or winding up with incomplete or bad information? Believe it or not, understanding how the business of real estate works offline makes it easier to understand online real estate information and strategies.

The Business of Real Estate

Real estate is typically bought and sold either through a licensed real estate agent or directly by the owner. The vast majority is bought and sold through real estate brokers. (We use “agent” and “broker” to refer to the same professional.) This is due to their real estate knowledge and experience and, at least historically, their exclusive access to a database of active properties for sale. Access to this database of property listings provided the most efficient way to search for properties.

The MLS (and CIE)

The database of residential, land, and smaller income producing properties (including some commercial properties) is commonly referred to as a multiple listing service (MLS). In most cases, only properties listed by member real estate agents can be added to an MLS. The primary purpose of an MLS is to enable the member real estate agents to make offers of compensation to other member agents if they find a buyer for a property.

This purposes did not include enabling the direct publishing of the MLS information to the public; times change. Today, most MLS information is directly accessible to the public over the Internet in many different forms.

Commercial property listings are also displayed online but aggregated commercial property information is more elusive. Larger MLSs often operate a commercial information exchange (CIE). A CIE is similar to an MLS but the agents adding the listings to the database are not required to offer any specific type of compensation to the other members. Compensation is negotiated outside the CIE.

In most cases, for-sale-by-owner properties cannot be directly added to an MLS and CIE, which are typically maintained by REALTOR associations. The lack of a managed centralized database can make these properties more difficult to locate. Traditionally, these properties are found by driving around or looking for ads in the local newspaper’s real estate listings. A more efficient way to locate for-sale-by-owner properties is to search for a for-sale-by-owner Web site in the geographic area.

What is a REALTOR? Sometimes the terms real estate agent and REALTOR are used interchangeably; however, they are not the same. A REALTOR is a licensed real estate agent who is also a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS. REALTORS are required to comply with a strict code of ethics and conduct.

MLS and CIE property listing information was historically only available in hard copy, and as we mentioned, only directly available to real estate agents members of an MLS or CIE. About ten years ago, this valuable property information started to trickle out to the Internet. This trickle is now a flood!

One reason is that most of the 1 million or so REALTORS have Web sites, and most of those Web sites have varying amounts of the local MLS or CIE property information displayed on them. Another reason is that there are many non-real estate agent Web sites that also offer real estate information, including, for-sale-by-owner sites, foreclosure sites, regional and international listing sites, County assessor sites, and valuation and market information sites. The flood of real estate information to the Internet definitely makes the information more accessible but also more confusing and subject to misunderstanding and misuse.

Real Estate Agents

Despite the flood of real estate information on the Internet, most properties are still sold directly through real estate agents listing properties in the local MLS or CIE. However, those property listings do not stay local anymore. By its nature, the Internet is a global marketplace and local MLS and CIE listings are normally disseminated for display on many different Web sites. For example, many go to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS Web site, http://www.realtor.com, and to the local real estate agent’s Web site. In addition, the listing may be displayed on the Web site of a local newspaper. In essence, the Internet is just another form of marketing offered by today’s real estate agent, but it has a much broader reach than the old print advertising.

In addition to Internet marketing, listing agents may also help the seller establish a price, hold open houses, keep the seller informed of interested buyers and offers, negotiate the contract and help with closing. When an agent provides all of these services it is referred to as being a full service listing arrangement. While full service listing arrangements are the most common type of listing arrangement, they are not the only option anymore.

Changes in the technology behind the real estate business have caused many agents to change the way they do business. In large part, this is due to the instant access most consumers now have to property listings and other real estate information. In addition, the Internet and other technologies have automated much of the marketing and initial searching process for real estate. For example, consumers can view properties online and make inquires via email. Brokers can use automated programs to send listings to consumers that match their property criteria. So, some agents now limit the services they offer and change their fees accordingly. An agent may offer to advertise the property in the MLS but only provide limited additional services. In the future, some real estate agents may offer services in more of an ala carte fashion.

Because of the volume of real estate information on the Internet, when people hire a real estate agent today they should look at the particular services offered by the agent and the depth of their experience and knowledge in the relevant property sector. It is no longer just about access to property listing information. Buyers and sellers historically found agents by referrals from friends and family. The Internet now provides ways to directly find qualified agents or to research the biography of an agent referred to you offline. One such site, AgentWorld.com, is quickly becoming the LinkedIn or Facebook for real estate agents. On this site an agent can personalize their profile, start a blog, post photos and videos and even create a link to their web site for free. Once unique content is added to their profile page the search engines notice!

Some have argued that the Internet makes REALTORS and the MLS less relevant. We believe this will be false in the long run. It may change the role of the agent but will make knowledgeable, qualified, and professional REALTORS more relevant than ever. In fact, the number of real estate agents has risen significantly in recent years. No wonder, the Internet has made local real estate a global business. Besides, Internet or not, the simple fact remains that the purchase of real property is the largest single purchase most people make in their life (or, for many investors, the largest multiple purchases over a lifetime) and they want expert help. As for the MLS, it remains the most reliable source of real estate listing and sold information available and continues to enable efficient marketing of properties. So, what is the function of all the online real estate information?

Online real estate information is a great research tool for buyers and sellers and a marketing tool for sellers. When used properly, buyers can save time by quickly researching properties and, ultimately, make better investment decisions. Sellers can efficiently research the market and make informed decisions about hiring an agent and marketing their properties online. The next step is to know where to look online for some of the best resources.
Internet Strategies

In the sections that follow, we provide strategies and tips on how to use the Internet to locate properties for sale and research information relevant to your decision to purchase the property. There are many real estate Web sites from which to choose and although we do not mean to endorse any particular Web site, we have found the ones listed here to be good resources in most cases or to be so popular that they need mention. One way to test a Web site’s accuracy is to search for information about a property you already own.

Finding Real Estate for Sale

Despite the widely available access to real estate listings, many believe that MLS databases continue to offer the most complete and accurate source of real estate information. Most MLSs now distribute content to other Web sites (primarily operated by real estate agents). An excellent starting point for MLS originated content is the national NAR Web site, realtor.com, which is also the most popular web site for searching real estate listings. Virtually all local and regional MLSs have an agreement with realtor.com to display much of their active listing inventory.

Some local and regional MLS systems also have a publicly accessible Web site. However, to get complete information you will most likely still need to find a qualified local REALTOR. Many local real estate agents will also provide their customers (via email) new listings that are input into the MLS that match their predefined criteria. This can be very helpful to a busy buyer.

There are also many Web sites that display both real estate agent listed and for-sale-by-owner properties. Some of the more popular Web sites include zillow.com and trulia.com. These sites offer other services too. For example, zillow.com is best known for its instantaneous property valuation function and trulia.com for providing historical information. Another source of properties for sale is the state, regional, and local Web sites associated with brokerage companies; for example, remax.com or prudential.com. Search engines like yahoo.com and classified advertising sites like craigslist.com also have a large number of active real estate listings.

One key difference between these sites is how much information you can access anonymously. For example, at trulia.com you can shop anonymously up to a point but then you will need to click through to the agent’s Web site for more information. Many new real estate search engines allow you to sift through listings without having to fill out a form. The best strategy is to browse a few of the sites listed above to find geographic areas or price ranges that are interesting. Once you get serious about a property, then that is the time to find a qualified REALTOR of your choice to conduct a complete search in the local MLS.

It also never hurts to search the old-fashioned way by driving through the neighborhoods that interest you. There is no substitute for physically, not virtually, walking the block when you are making a serious investment decision. In this sense, real estate is still a very local business and standing in front of the property can lead to a much different decision than viewing a Web page printout.

Valuing Real Estate

As we mentioned, one of the most popular real estate tools is zillow.com’s instant property valuation. Just type in an address and in and you get a property value. It even charts the price ups and downs, and shows the last date sold (including price) and the property taxes. There are other sites that provide similar tools such as housevalues.com and homegain.com. Unfortunately, many people use these estimated values alone to justify sales prices, offers and counteroffers. However, these are only rough estimates based on a formula that incorporates the local county sales information. These estimates can swing wildly over a short period of time and do not appear to always track actual market changes, which are normally more gradual. In addition, these estimates do not automatically take into account property remodels or renovations or other property specific or local changes. This is not to say these sites are not useful. In fact, they are great starting points and can provide a good ball-park value in many cases.

When it comes to getting a more accurate value for a particular property, there are other strategies that are more trustworthy. One is to go directly to your county’s Web site. More often than not the county assessor’s area of the Web site provides sales and tax information for all properties in the county. If you want to research a particular property or compare sales prices of comparable properties, the local assessor’s sites are really helpful. When you visit a county’s Web site you are getting information straight from the source. Most counties today publish property information on their Web sites. Many times you cannot only see the price a previous owner paid, but the assessed value, property taxes, and maps. Some county assessors are now adding a market and property valuation tools too.

Given the importance of valuation to investing, we are also going to remind you of the two most important (non-Internet) valuation methods: real estate agents and appraisers. Working with a local REALTOR is an accurate and efficient way to get value information for a property. While one of the primary purposes of the MLS is to market the active property listings of its members, the system also collects sales information for those listings. REALTOR members can pull this sales information and produce comparable market analyses (sometimes called CMAs) that provide an excellent snapshot of a particular property’s value for the market in a particular area.

Finally, the most accurate way to value a property is by having a certified appraiser produce an appraisal. An appraiser will typically review both the sold information in the MLS system as well as county information and then analyze the information to produce a valuation for the property based on one or more approved methods of valuation. These methods of valuation can include a comparison of similar properties adjusted for differences between the properties, determine the cost to replace the property, or, with an income producing property, determine a value based on the income generated from the property.

The Neighborhood

There are many ways the Internet can help you get the scoop on a particular neighborhood. For example, census data can be found at census.gov. You can also check out the neighborhood scoop at sites like outside.in or review local blogs. A blog is a Web site where people discuss topics by posting and responding to messages. Start by looking at placeblogger.com and kcnn.org/citymediasites.com for a directory of blogs. Trulia.com has a “Heat Map” that shows how hot or cold each neighborhood is based on prices, sales, or popularity among the sites users.

Schools

When it comes to selling residential property or rental properties that cater to families, the quality of the area school district makes a huge difference. There are many Web sites devoted to school information. Check out greatschools.net or schoolmatters.com. Most local school districts also have their own Web site. These sites contain a variety of information about the public schools and the school district, including its district demographics, test scores, and parent reviews.

Finding the Right Real Estate Agent

A recent addition to the Internet boom in real estate information is Web sites that let real estate agents market their expertise and local knowledge by displaying their professional profiles and socially networking with blogs. You can search to find an agent with a particular expertise, geographic area of specialization, or an agent offering specific services. The web site AgentWorld.com lets users quickly and easily find an agent with the right expertise using keyword searches and clean and simple agent profiles. AgentWorld.com also enables agents to post personalized blogs, photos and videos to help consumers find the best agent for their needs. Plus, many agent profiles include a direct link to the agent’s web site where you will likely find the local MLS listings.

Maps and Other Tools

The Internet has made mapping and locating properties much easier. To get an aerial view or satellite image of a property or neighborhood, go to maps.live.com or maps.google.com or visit walkscore.com to see how walk-able a particular property is. These sites can give you an idea of the neighborhood characteristics and the types of entertainment, restaurants, and other facilities that are within walking distance of the property. Maps.Live.com provides a view at an angle so you can see the sides of houses and Maps.Google even gives you a 360 degree street-level view for certain neighborhoods. If you have not tried one of these satellite map Web sites, you really should if only for amusement.

Final Thoughts on Internet Strategies

The Internet is a very effective research and marketing tool for real estate investors but is not a replacement for a knowledgeable experienced real estate professional. The Internet can save you time and money by enabling quick and easy property research and marketing options. Sites like AgentWorld.com also help you efficiently find a REALTOR who fits your buying or selling needs.

Always remember, when it comes to Internet strategies for real estate: More knowledge is better. You need to use the Internet to build your knowledge base on a target property or to find a real estate agent with expertise you need. However, the big caution here is that the Internet should not replace human judgment and perspective, expert advice or physical due diligence-keys to successful investing.

About the Author:

Tyler D. Kraemer is an attorney and nationally published author. His books include The Real Estate Investor’s Tax Strategy Guide (2009 Adams Media) and The Complete Guide to Reverse Mortgages (2007 Adams Media). Tyler has been interviewed by publications across the U.S. on real estate, business and Internet related topics. He is also a contributing editor to the web site http://www.agentworld.com

Copyright 2009. Tyler D. Kraemer. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Tyler_Kraemer

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The Toronto Real Estate Market

February 20, 2010

The Internet has become an extremely valuable resource for real estate. Almost 75% of Canadians claim they will use the Internet for their next real estate transaction. The value of the American dollar over the Canadian “loonie” has made American investors migrate to Canada and buy properties during the past few years.

If you’ve been watching the housing market recently, you’ve probably noticed that the reason for the huge growth in property values comes more from an influx of migration to the city, plus the low interest rates, versus foreign investment.

Toronto properties are some of the most popular in all of North America. Whether you decide to invest in a new condo, commercial property or buy a house for the whole family, Toronto has it all. If you decide to buy a property in Toronto you are guaranteed to live in a city with great services, facilities and entertainment.

The housing market in Toronto is largely based on demographics, as there has been an influx of over one million people to the Greater Toronto Area during the last decade, and there is still a huge need of housing for these new residents. Furthermore, the real estate market crisis in the US has many homebuyers wondering if this will affect the housing markets in Canada, which opened the door for speculation on the Canadian market. The good news is that the housing market has been setting records for five consecutive years now despite the economical crisis in the US.

The luxury Toronto real estate market is the perfect example of the strong Canadian market with million dollar plus home sales across the Greater Toronto Area increasing over the 2006 figures. A thriving Canadian economy has many suburbians moving back into the cities. The fierce competition ensures that pricing cannot be raised artificially, so the people buying homes and condos are mostly families and the downtown workforce.

Not only is the existing housing market doing great, but newly built condos are also in very high demand and each year, condos are becoming a more significant part of the real estate market. The Toronto condo market is a great alternative to home ownership if you are a first time buyer or looking to reduce your current investment. The high cost of a home in Toronto makes it very difficult for a large percent of the population to become homeowners, making condos a great alternative.

If you do decide to invest in the Toronto real estate market just make sure to work with a professional real estate lawyer. Also, getting a good interest rate on your mortgage is essential to being able to afford your investment and avoiding foreclosure.

Patrick Kennedy is a Toronto Real Estate specialist. Visit http://www.realestate.mycitytoronto.com for listings of beautiful Toronto properties and Toronto’s top real estate agents. You will be able to map out homes for sale in your desired neighborhood as well as take a virtual tour of properties. MyCityToronto is Toronto’s premier source of real estate information.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Patrick_R._Kennedy

The Toronto Real Estate Market

February 20, 2010

The Internet has become an extremely valuable resource for real estate. Almost 75% of Canadians claim they will use the Internet for their next real estate transaction. The value of the American dollar over the Canadian “loonie” has made American investors migrate to Canada and buy properties during the past few years.

If you’ve been watching the housing market recently, you’ve probably noticed that the reason for the huge growth in property values comes more from an influx of migration to the city, plus the low interest rates, versus foreign investment.

Toronto properties are some of the most popular in all of North America. Whether you decide to invest in a new condo, commercial property or buy a house for the whole family, Toronto has it all. If you decide to buy a property in Toronto you are guaranteed to live in a city with great services, facilities and entertainment.

The housing market in Toronto is largely based on demographics, as there has been an influx of over one million people to the Greater Toronto Area during the last decade, and there is still a huge need of housing for these new residents. Furthermore, the real estate market crisis in the US has many homebuyers wondering if this will affect the housing markets in Canada, which opened the door for speculation on the Canadian market. The good news is that the housing market has been setting records for five consecutive years now despite the economical crisis in the US.

The luxury Toronto real estate market is the perfect example of the strong Canadian market with million dollar plus home sales across the Greater Toronto Area increasing over the 2006 figures. A thriving Canadian economy has many suburbians moving back into the cities. The fierce competition ensures that pricing cannot be raised artificially, so the people buying homes and condos are mostly families and the downtown workforce.

Not only is the existing housing market doing great, but newly built condos are also in very high demand and each year, condos are becoming a more significant part of the real estate market. The Toronto condo market is a great alternative to home ownership if you are a first time buyer or looking to reduce your current investment. The high cost of a home in Toronto makes it very difficult for a large percent of the population to become homeowners, making condos a great alternative.

If you do decide to invest in the Toronto real estate market just make sure to work with a professional real estate lawyer. Also, getting a good interest rate on your mortgage is essential to being able to afford your investment and avoiding foreclosure.

Patrick Kennedy is a Toronto Real Estate specialist. Visit http://www.realestate.mycitytoronto.com for listings of beautiful Toronto properties and Toronto’s top real estate agents. You will be able to map out homes for sale in your desired neighborhood as well as take a virtual tour of properties. MyCityToronto is Toronto’s premier source of real estate information.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Patrick_R._Kennedy

When is it Convenient to Go For an Extended Stay Short Term Rental?

February 3, 2010

Extended stay suitesAs an alternative to staying in a hotel, more people are choosing to rent extended stay accommodations. The purpose of an extended stay short term rental is to provide accommodations that create a home-like experience. There is more space to live and work, as well as extra amenities. Stays can vary from days to months.

There are a number of reasons why one would find it convenient to rent an extended stay short term rental, and they include:

  • When you are going on a lengthy business trip
  • Working on a lengthy project that is far from home
  • If your house has received damage such as a fire or flood and you need a place to stay while looking for another place to live.
  • If you are going on a long vacation that could result in an expensive hotel costs.
  • If you are new to the area and are looking for a home.
  • If your house is in a state of disarray due to renovations.
  • Relocating to a new job
  • Visiting friends or family

Extended stay rental accommodations can vary from studio apartments to complete condominiums. They include a choice of the number of bedrooms, a fully functional kitchen, large space, fully decorated rooms, en-suite laundry, easy access to major roads and highways, quality security features such as a personally encoded intrusion alarm system, house keeping services, and they are usually centrally located in the urban area or very near it. .

One of the main reasons why people choose short term rentals is the price. They can have all of the luxuries of a hotel, and maintain the comforts of home. It is basically a home away from home.

Other benefits include:

  • They are cheaper than hotels with the same, or even more amenities. You can rent daily, weekly or monthly.
  • The units are clean and spacious and will normally contain all the modern conveniences such as CD players, one or more televisions, DVD, and VHS.
  • With a fully functioning kitchen that is complete with all the essential appliances, you do not have the added expense of dining out. If you do want to dine out, there will be excellent restaurants nearby.
  • You will have free unlimited local phone use, as well as a fax, computer port, and personal voice mail. You can also have the latest internet technology such as Wi-Fi high speed Internet
  • Depending on the rental, you may have access to saunas, pools, and recreational activities such as gymnasiums and tennis courts.
  • Before you arrive, you can often per-order food to be stocked in your refrigerator, cupboards, and freezer. The units also contain a stove, microwave, dish washer as well as a washer and dryer.
  • Most rentals will have access to a car rental company so that you will be able to quickly rent a car from a top rental company. Most places have secure parking such as underground parking.
  • Because you will usually be located in the heart of an urban area, you will be near entertainment activities such as movie theaters, malls, restaurants, night clubs, and playhouses.
  • Some units even have agreements with real estate companies to help guests look for a new home or condominium.

Short term rentals are an affordable and convenient form of temporary housing. They are a great choice for people who want the luxury of hotel, but with a homelike atmosphere.

Looking for Toronto furnished apartments? Toronto short term rental housing can be a viable solution for your business travels.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Amy_Nutt