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Who’s Who in the Home Buying Process

by Melissa Thompson


Buying a home is not something you do alone. There are a lot of players that participate in the process.  You will work together with several people who will use their professional expertise to guide you along the way to home ownership.  It might seem a little overwhelming, but once you understand the role each of these individual’s will play, you will realize the benefit of having them on your team.  Are you wondering who these people are?  Here is a “who’s who” list of the professionals you will meet along the path of your home buying journey:

  1. Mortgage Lender - Meeting with a mortgage lender is something you can and should do prior to even starting your home search.  Getting a pre-approval for a mortgage loan is a great way to make yourself stand out to sellers.  Your mortgage lender could be an independent lender, a credit union, or a bank.  Meet with several so you can choose the one that suits you best.  Once you choose, you will work with an individual Mortgage Banker who will be your guide through home loan process.  Your mortgage banker will help you determine how much you can afford to spend and assist you in filling out your loan application.
     
  2. Realtor - Navigating the home buying process will be much easier with an experienced Realtor on your side. A professional Realtor will not only help you find the perfect home, she will also be your advocate throughout the whole process; before, during and after you close on the home.  Take the time to interview several Realtors to find the one whom you feel comfortable with.
     
  3. Home Inspector - Trust me when I say that you don’t want to skip the home inspection. No matter the age of your future home, having it inspected can save you from buying a one that has issues that could cost you a lot of money in the long run.  A Home Inspector is trained to carefully check the home’s structure, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, and roofing among other things in order to provide you with a detailed report on the condition of the home.  This report will have an impact on your decision to continue with the purchase of the home and may help you negotiate for repairs by the current owners before the sale is completed.
     
  4. Appraiser - The home appraiser plays a crucial role in the home buying process.  This is the person who will make sure that you are not overpaying for your new home. He or she will look at the condition of the home and make a comparison to similar home sales in the area to come up with the fair market value. Guidelines for Home Appraisals
     
  5. Title Searcher - A Title Searcher will review public records for your property to make sure there are no issues that will be problematic for the home sale.  The research things like overdue taxes, zoning restrictions or liens against the property that prevent the issue of a clean title on your new home. The title company facilitates the closing on the home and provides the documents involved.  Finally, they will make sure that the new home’s title records are appropriately filed.
     
  6. Insurance Agent - As a home owner, it is required that you have home owner’s insurance when you obtain a mortgage.   This insurance will financially protect you and your home should there be a disaster.  Be sure to do your research prior to submitting your mortgage application so that you can find the best insurance policy for your needs.

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson, and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

How to Decorate for Christmas Without Breaking the Bank

by Melissa Thompson

The holiday season is here and if you have your house on the market, you might be packing up everything you own very soon.  The last thing you want to do is unpack all your Christmas decorations only to have to pack them back up again.  In addition, if you are showing your home to potential buyers, you are going to want to keep your holiday décor as simple as possible. You don’t have to be a scrooge though!  You can decorate beautifully without spending a lot of money and without having to unpack all your personal treasures.  Here are five inexpensive ways to decorate for the holidays;

  1. Homemade Garland - A lot of craft stores have great sales and coupons this time of year.  Grab some greenery and then head on over to a dollar store and pick up some pretty ornaments.  You can find DIY instructions for making a festive garland on YouTube.  DIY Dollar Tree Christmas Garland
     
  2. Real Tree - If you have been using an artificial tree and don’t want to unpack it, this is a good time to buy a real tree.  Some can be very expensive, but you can find a pretty tree for as little as $30 in some places.  Consider using a smaller tree and placing it on a table top instead of on the floor.  Decorate with old-fashioned strings of popcorn and cranberries.  And you might be surprised at the sparkly ornaments you can find at very little cost.
     
  3. Wrapped Gifts - Beautifully wrapped gifts can be used to create any aesthetic you desire.  For a more formal look, wrap gifts in shiny silvers and golds.  Want to go whimsical? Try wrapping paper in fun shades of red, green, pink and white. And if you’re going for a winter wonderland look, use blues and silvers.  The point is that you can use the gifts themselves to create gorgeous holiday décor.
     
  4. DIY Christmas Wreaths - All you need is a hot glue gun, some inexpensive ornaments, ribbon, and a coat hanger and you can make pretty wreaths. There are lots of other ways to make them to. Check some out here: 45 Christmas Wreaths For the Most Festive Display on the Block
     
  5. Poinsettias - You can find pretty poinsettias just about anywhere this time of year.  Care for them properly, and they will last the whole holiday season.  Display them in reds, pinks and whites to create a classy ambiance in your holiday home.

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson, and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today.

Photo Credit: goodhousekeeping.com

How to Preserve Precious Family Heirlooms

by Melissa Thompson

The holidays tend to bring out the sentimentality in all of us. Family heirlooms are treasures that evoke memories of the past and hold great sentimental value.  Keeping them safe and well preserved is important. There are many kinds of keepsakes. What may seem not very special to one person, might be the most cherished of items to another.  The following tips will help you preserve them and keep the memories alive:

Paper Documents

Don’t make the mistake of keeping precious papers in a box somewhere. Paper is vulnerable to crumbling and fading if it is exposed to too much light, heat or moisture.  You can keep documents safe by placing them in acid-free envelopes or folders.  When you want to look at them, make sure your hands are clean and dry. Avoid using lotion on your hands if you know you are going to be handling paper heirlooms.  Three ring binders are excellent for keeping documents organized and safe.  Keep them in temperature controlled parts of the house to avoid deterioration due to heat and moisture.

Books

Like paper documents, books need to be kept away from heat, bright light and anything highly acidic.  If you want to keep a book pristine, interleaf the pages with acid-free tissue paper.  If you keep favorite books on a shelf, make sure it is not exposed to too much sunlight.  They will fade over time, but keeping them out of harsh conditions will make them last longer.

Photographs

Many people have photographs stored in old-school albums where they are stuck on the pages by adhesive. Unfortunately, many of these old albums are not acid-free and will cause the photographs to deteriorate and fade over time. To preserve them, remove them from these albums and place them in PVC-free plastic sleeves, which can then be placed in binders.  If you are lucky enough to still have the negatives from old photos, keep them safe so that you can replace pictures if they are destroyed or lost. How to Preserve Family Archives

Textiles

When preserving textiles such as quilts, wedding dresses, baptismal gowns or antique linens, you want to make space for flat storage.  It’s vital that you keep them in an acid-free box and in an area free of pests.  If you get them cleaned and pressed, make sure starch isn’t used because bugs will attract bugs. Make sure your hands are clean and free of lotion when handling your cloth heirlooms.  Do your research and get professional advice on how to clean them before storing.

How to Handle Antique Textiles and Costumes

Regardless of what kind of treasure you are attempting to preserve, it is advisable that you never store them in the attic or basement. Extreme temperatures and humidity will harm stored artifacts.  Keep your boxes and binders of family heirlooms in a closet or on a shelf in your temperature controlled living space.  Make sure they are out of direct sunlight.  Not only will this keep them safer and preserve them longer, but it will also make it easier for you to get them out to look at when you want to take a trip down memory lane!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today.

Photo Credit: familytree.com

Now is a Great Time to Buy a House! Here are 5 Reasons Why

by Melissa Thompson

Buying a home during the holiday season might sound like a crazy idea, but the truth is now is a great time to purchase a home!  Here are 5 reasons to purchase a home during the holidays:

  1. Less Real Estate Market Activity: With lots of family, school, and work activities happening during the holidays, fewer real estate transactions are taking place.  Because fewer people are looking for houses, there is less competition for buyers.  And with less competition, buyers have more leverage when negotiating purchases.  People selling homes during the holidays must often lower asking prices or make other concessions to sell.  So, if you buy this time of year, you might get a bargain!
     
  2. Highly Motivated Sellers:  If someone is selling their house at the end of the year, it’s because they need to.  Usually sellers avoid the end of the year due to shorter days and cold weather, so if they are selling this time of year they are likely under pressure and motivated to make a deal. Motivated Sellers
     
  3. Lower Interest Rates: Because of limited demand during the holiday season, there is greater competition among lenders so there is a general trend of lower rates. 
     
  4. Tax Perks: Buy a house before the end of the year and you can deduct any points you paid upon closing.  You can also deduct property taxes and mortgage interest.  Learn about the tax benefits of purchasing a home and find out if it is to your advantage to buy before year’s end. While your decision to buy a home shouldn’t be made solely for tax reasons, you certainly want to take advantage of the perks that exist! Tax Benefits of Buying a Home
     
  5. Faster Closings: Everybody involved in the home buying/selling process has incentive to complete transactions before the end of the year.  Lenders want to close their books; Realtors want to receive their commissions before the new year and sellers are anxious to move on.  Since everyone is so motivated, and there is less real estate activity, closings should happen quickly and efficiently.

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today

Photo Credit: realtor.com

Happy Kids = Happy Holidays!

by Melissa Thompson

With Thanksgiving just over a week away, the holiday season is upon us and we all know what that means…holiday break for kids is coming. Holiday break.  It sounds like fun. It should be fun. You start the break with images of snuggling up to read stories, making hot cocoa and going for adventures outdoors.  But sometimes it can be challenging for parents to figure out how to fill the hours of free time kids have over the holiday break. Before you know it, you are in survival mode – just trying to get through the break with your sanity intact.  That is why it is a prudent idea to start the break with a plan in mind. It certainly can’t hurt to have a few activities planned to fall back on to keep your kids entertained and engaged. Now is the time to plan ahead.  Here are five budget friendly ideas to keep your kids busy during the holiday break.

1. Creative Coloring 

A box of crayons and some paper can keep toddlers occupied, but as children grow, they may need a few more creative ideas for how to use those crayons to stay busy. Here are some creative coloring options:

  • Coloring wrapping paper. Who doesn’t need more wrapping paper for the holidays? This is a twofold activity. You get your wrapping paper at a low price, and you keep your kids busy awhile. Just buy rolls of cheap, plain-colored wrapping paper. (The cheap kind is thin, so darker colors work best.) Roll it out a few feet at a time on a table or a hard floor, and let the kids go to town.
  • Upside down coloring. Turn coloring on its head – literally – with this easy activity. Just tape coloring sheets to the bottom of a table, and turn your child into a tiny Michelangelo. This is a great way to keep them busy and build upper arm strength.
  • Color the windows. Kids love being able to use crayons on surfaces that are usually off-limits. Crayola makes some crayons specifically for coloring on windows. Grab a pack of these, and let kids decorate the windows for the holidays.
  • Try complex coloring sheets. Older kids may think freestyle coloring is boring. Try printing off complicated geometric coloring sheets. Kids can create gorgeous designs, and the challenge keeps them engaged longer. (Note: They may need colored pencils and a good sharpener to be able to tackle these detailed designs.) 30 Interesting Geometric Coloring Pages

2. Indoor Games

Probably the worst part of the holiday season is that it might be too cold to play outside for very long. And you probably don’t have a gym like your kids’ school does, where they can release their pent-up energy. Luckily, with some creativity and basic supplies, you can create your own indoor gross motor games to burn off that extra energy.

  • Obstacle courses. Obstacle courses are surprisingly easy to create, and you can customize them for kids of any age – even elementary-aged kids would love a superhero obstacle course. These can be heavy on the prep work, but one course could keep your kids busy the entire day. Worth it! Indoor Obstacle Course for Kids
  • Hopscotch. What better way to burn off energy than with hopscotch? Crafty parents can put together this adorable indoor hopscotch mat to use again and again! Here are some more ideas for indoor hopscotch: Indoor Hopscotch
  • Scavenger hunts. You may think scavenger hunts are just for outside play, but you’d be surprised. You can put together some fun indoor scavenger hunts. These are a great way to get kids to play independently or in teams while you get other stuff done. (Or just relax with a cup of coffee for 20 minutes!) You can come up with any number of scavenger hunts tailored to your kids’ ages and interests. Holiday Scavenger Hunt Ideas

3. Arts and Crafts 

Before the holiday break starts, plan some crafts for your kids to do during the break. Then, hit your local craft store sans kids, and pick up the supplies you need. Stick supplies for each craft into a gallon-sized bag, and write the name of the craft and any necessary instructions on it with a marker. This may seem over the top, but when your kids are in the throes of boredom two days into break, you’ll be glad you have an activity to pull out and run with. Here are some craft ideas to try:

4. Service Projects 

This is the time of year when many of us are trying to find ways to give back. Why not involve your kids in giving back this year? Some ideas include raking leaves or shoveling snow for older neighbors, baking cookies for local police officers or firefighters, or making up boxes of goodies for ill children through a program like The Jared Box Project. Another option is to make cozy fleece scarves for a local hospital or nursing home. Older kids can even plan, shop for and make a meal for ill or elderly neighbors, or the couple down the street with a new baby and no time to cook.

So, if your kids are bickering or complaining that they are bored, save the day with these fun, inexpensive activities and enjoy the holiday break!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Photo Credit: firstfridaykokomo.com

Tips for Buying a Home FAST!

by Melissa Thompson

If you are in the market to purchase a home right now, I am sure you would like to be moved in and settled by the time the holidays arrive.  Does that sound too good to be true?  Well, no promises, but there are steps you can take to buy a home fast.

Whether you are buying a house for the first time, or you have navigated the home buying process before, chances are you know that it can be lengthy and complicated.  But there are certain strategies you can use that will speed things up. Here are some tips to help you get started:

           - Chose the right type of house.  There are certain types of homes you will want to avoid if you’re in a hurry.  Co-ops, for example, can be problematic because it can take six to eight weeks to get a board interview scheduled, finalized and approved.  You should also avoid bank-owned homes or foreclosures, which generally take much longer to close.  The fastest way to go is to focus on condos or new developments. Closings for condos and new developments can take as few as three to four weeks to happen.

           - Get pre-approved for a mortgage.  This is a strategic move that will give you a head start so that when you do find a house you want to purchase; you will already be approved for a mortgage loan and can make an offer right away.  This will also help you to stay within your budget when looking at homes because you won’t want to waste time looking at properties that cost more than what you are pre-approved for. 5 Things You Need to Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

           - Have your documents in order and ready to go.  Get all the paper work that you will need organized so that it is ready and waiting when you find the right home.  Generally, a home buyer will need the following: federal tax returns for the past two years, supporting information such as W-2, 1099, or other tax forms for the past two years, two months’ worth of bank statements for your checking, savings, 401K, retirement and other accounts, and pay stubs from the past month. Closing Day: What a Buyer Needs to Do and Bring

           - Find the right Realtor to guide you through the process.  You will want an experienced, professional Realtor who knows the area well and can use their expertise to get you into a home quickly.

           - Offer to shorten contingency deadlines.  Don’t risk waiving home inspection or financing contingencies, but consider a shorter time frame to effect a faster closing.

           - Be prepared for your move.  Don’t wait until you have closed on your new home to start packing and preparing for your move.  Start early so that as soon as you close, you are ready to go!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Keeping Kids Safe on Halloween

by Melissa Thompson

When caught up in the fun and excitement of Halloween festivities, it’s easy to overlook safety issues. There may be ghosts, vampires and witches on every corner, but what is truly frightening is the number of preventable accidents that occur each year on this night. You will enjoy this spooky holiday more if you know your children are safe. Here are 5 safety tips for Halloween:

  1. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should not cross streets alone before they are ten years old. Maturity, danger awareness and traffic savvy are all required for navigating street crossings and research cautions that even some ten-year-olds might not be ready for that.  In a Wall Street Journal article, author Andrea Peterson stated, “Research has found that young children walking to school often don’t look for traffic to stop at the curb before stepping into the street.”  And the AAP's Policy Statement on this topic is that parents “are likely to overestimate their children’s ability to safely cross the street.”  So, if your little princess or super hero is under ten, make sure there is a trusted adult with them to guide them across streets.  Teach them that looking left, then right, then left again is the best way to be sure no cars are coming.  Remind them to listen for traffic as well. If your children are trick or treating in a city with busy streets, always use designated cross walks for crossing.
     
  2. Avoid visual impairments, like masks.  Face paints are a great alternative for masks for trick or treaters.  Incorporate bright colors into the face paint to make your child more visible in the dark. It’s also a good idea to add some reflector tape to dark costumes so that your child can be seen in the dark.
     
  3. When trick or treating in an area that does not have sidewalks and you must walk on roads, be sure to walk FACING oncoming traffic.  This makes it easier for you to spot cars coming and for drivers to spot you.  It’s a good idea to carry a flashlight and point it forward and down. It will not only give you more visibility, it will make you more visible.
     
  4. Nothing says Halloween like a candlelit jack o’ lantern, but unfortunately, it’s also a fire hazard. Long capes and costumes with trailing material on crowded doorsteps are disaster waiting to happen when exposed to an open flame.  Be sure to purchase flame-retardant apparel for your little ones.  And to be extra safe, go over the "Stop, Drop, and Roll" procedure with them.
     
  5. Set some rules for candy consumption.  Don’t allow your child to eat while out trick or treating.  It’s too hard to inspect candy properly in the dark and you want to be sure packaging isn’t punctured or previously opened.  Don’t let them eat anything homemade unless it’s from a friend or neighbor that you know. Wait until you child is home and you can inspect their loot in a well-lit room and set guidelines for how much they may eat and when. Last thing you want is a tummy ache at the end of a spooktacular night…especially if it’s a school night!

Follow these tips and use common sense and Halloween night will be festive but not frightening!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Let’s Go for a Bike Ride in Memphis!

by Melissa Thompson

There was once a time when Memphis was not a great place to ride a bike.  But that has been changing.  Over the past several years more and more bike lanes have appeared in this great city make it one of the best bike cities in America!  Now, it’s common to see cyclists commuting or riding for pleasure, especially in midtown and downtown Memphis.  If you enjoy bike riding and want to be part of the vibrant Memphis bike culture, check out these top six places to ride your bike in Memphis:

  1. Shelby Farms Park - The Shelby Farms Greenline is a 10.65 mile paved, urban trail that connects pedestrians and cyclists in Midtown Memphis.  This “rails-to-trails” project transformed an unused railroad line into one of Tennessee’s best trails.  You don’t even have to own a bike to enjoy a ride here because they offer bike rentals right on site. This trail is so bike friendly that they even proved four bike repair stations just in case you have any problems along the way!
  2. Wolf River Conservancy -  Enjoy a pleasant after-work bike ride in this natural area which preserves some of the mid-south’s most beautiful habitat.  Relish the stunning views as you ride along the spring-fed Wolf River
  3. Overton Park Conservancy - This 342-acre public park includes what is referred to as “a love letter to the Memphis cycling community” - the Bike Gate arch and plaza which provide a valuable connection that links a network of trails and bike lanes stretching from Downtown Shelby Farms Park.  With benches, fountains, and directional signage, the plaza is a great place to stop on the citywide trail system.  In addition, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation funded the construction of a new bike path that connects the plaza to the Old Forest trail system, which means cyclists can connect to park trails with having to jump curbs or ride through grass.
  4. Stanky Creek Trail - A 9-mile loop trail located in Nesbit Park, you will savor views of lovely wild flowers as you ride.  The trail also offers a lot of other activity options such as hiking and trail running and it is dog-friendly too!
  5. Big River Crossing - Nearly a mile long, Big River Crossing is the country’s longest active rail/bicycle/pedestrian bridge.  A 10-mile, multi-modal corridor, it connects Main Street to Main Street and features the Big River Trail System.  This ties together attractions throughout Memphis, West Memphis, and delta region.
  6. The Mississippi River Trail - Great for longer rides, this trail will take you on a 32-mile segment that passes through Shelby County, including the Meeman-Shelby Forest and Downtown Memphis. You can get bike trail maps and bicycling guide here.

With plenty of bike shops and bike rentals, Memphis truly is one of the most cyclist friendly cities in America.  So, get outside and enjoy all that this amazing city has to offer while getting exercise too!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Photo Credit: memphistravel.com

Affordable Home Staging Hacks

by Melissa Thompson

Chances are, if you are getting ready to sell your home, you are also preparing to purchase a new home. So, the last thing you want to do is spend more money on your current property.  However, you certainly want to get the best price possible when selling it, and per the National Association of Realtors, for every $100 invested in staging, the potential return is $400. As you can see, it will pay off in the end to stage your home to entice potential buyers.

Some people will hire a certified staging professional to get the job done. (Home Staging and Hiring a Stager) While it might seem easier than doing it yourself, it is not the only way to get that SOLD sign planted in your front yard.  There are some simple, yet effective home-staging hacks that you can do that won’t break your budget:

  • Roll Out a Welcome Mat - Sounds simple, right?  It is!  First impressions mean everything when selling your home.  Also, prospective buyers tend to linger by the front door before the real estate agent opens the home for viewing, so an inviting entrance is crucial. A new welcome mat can cost as little as $15.  Purchase a modern mat that compliments the style of your home.  To further enhance the entryway, add a little green with some fresh plants.  An enticing entrance will make buyers want to see more!
     
  • Mount Mirrors in Strategic Spots - Every home has spaces like a dim hallway or small space that lacks natural light.  To spruce up these areas, hang a few mirrors.  They add extra light to rooms that look dark, and create an illusion of space. They will pack an extra punch if placed next to or directly across from a window because they will pull in more sun.  For a more decorative look, create a collage of several mini mirrors in different shapes and sizes rather than just slapping one large mirror on the wall. You can find inexpensive mirrors at craft stores and discount home stores. How to Use Mirrors to Create More Space
     
  • Set Tables and Serving Areas for Entertaining - A home filled with friends, food and laughter is a happy one!  Paint a picture of what entertaining in your home will be like for potential buyers.  Keep it simple, but aesthetically pleasing. Lay out cloth napkins, wine glasses and solid plates in the dining room. Use matching mugs and bowls in the kitchen to produce the feel of family meals.
     
  • Replace Personal Photos with Art Work - Over the years, you have turned your house into a home by decorating with family portraits and personal mementos.  But potential buyers are going to want to be able to envision themselves living there and that is hard to do with your family members present in the form of pictures in every room.  So, get a head start on packing up your house by putting your pictures away and replacing them with art work that compliments the style of the home.  You can find inexpensive art at discount stores or you can print beautiful landscape photos to put in frames.
     
  • Make the Bathroom Look Elegant with White Linens - Spruce up your bathroom with crisp, fresh, all-white linens.  White towels, bath mats, and shower curtains give the room an instant update.  They inspire the feeling of a luxury spa without spending a lot of money.  Take it a step further by including some "spa like" displays. Simple additions like an orchid, candles and special soaps will go a long way. 7 Easy Updates to Make Your Bathroom Feel Like a Spa
     
  • Arrange Decorative Scenes - Decorative displays can give a cozy, lived-in ambience to a house.  Assembling classy vignettes of colorful vases, lanterns, books, plants, baskets, and other items atop dressers, counters and bookshelves will make a house feel more like a home. Group items in odd numbers and in varying heights and shapes while keeping them in the same color family. You will be amazed at what you can find to use in your house, but if you need to buy some things, you can mix in inexpensive pieces from craft and discount stores.  Done properly, these displays will have people feeling like they are looking at rooms right out of home décor magazines…and that definitely appeals to prospective buyers.

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Photo Credit: houzz.com

What You Need to Know About Renting Out a Room in Memphis

by Melissa Thompson

Memphis, home of blues, soul & rock ‘n’ roll is a fantastic travel destination. With so many fun attractions such as Graceland, Sun Studio, the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and iconic Beale Street, homeowners may be tempted to rent out rooms to earn a little extra income.  Why not?  It sounds easy enough.  Clean up that spare room or basement and you can rake in the big bucks from people looking for alternatives to hotel lodging.  But there are things you should know before taking this on.  It may not be as simple as it seems.

- There are several online peer-to-peer marketplaces for renting out your house or a room in your house. Airbnb is one of the largest and most popular. Some others include HomeAway and FlipKey. Your first step should be to investigate the various options and decide which one will work best for you.

- Educate yourself about the laws involved with renting out a room in your home. When listing your home on a website, they might not indicate whether you’re complying with local laws.  You are responsible for knowing the regulations and following the rule of the law.  Don’t get yourself in a situation like the hosts in New York City who were fined thousands of dollars for renting their apartments through peer-to-peer services.  This type of rental activity is allowed in Memphis, but it is subject to rules set forth by city council.  Make sure you know the rules and regulations before placing your room for rent. Memphis City Council Cuts Red Tape for Airbnb Hosts

- There may be taxes involved.  Depending on how much you earn by renting out all or part of your home, you may receive a tax form from the marketplaces that list your property.  Regardless, you must report the earnings when filing your taxes.  This is something to consider when deciding if it is worth the cost to start renting out space in your home.

- Something else to think about when deciding if your profits will outweigh your costs is the expense of having guests in your home.  You will be providing consumables such as soap, toilet paper, shampoo and cleaning supplies. In addition, your utility bills may increase.  You may also want to hire a cleaning service if you don’t have time to clean between guests.

- To increase your chances of being booked, consider listing on multiple sites.  The more people that see your listing, the better the chance it will be rented.  But remember, each site has its own rules, fee structures and insurance requirements, so you need to know this information for every site you use.

Should you decide to rent out a room in your home, the rental site that you choose will help you get started and before you know it you will be welcoming guests to magnificent Memphis!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Photo Credit: memphistravel.com

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 204