Is Owning a Vacation Rental Right for You?

It sounds great doesn’t it? Put your second or vacation home online and have income instead of a vacant space. It sounds like a great investment but is it really?

What Is It?

A little background on Airbnb and VRBO: these are websites that allow you to place your home, or vacant rooms for rent to travelers or vacationers who would prefer to stay in a different environment than a hotel.

Why Is It Right For You?

Lewis County, is one of the areas greatest destination places. Many homes in White Pass Ski, Riffe Lake, and Lake May-field benefit from using Airbnb and VRBO to list their property because this area is full of those looking for a vacation spot.

Having your home listed on VRBO or Airbnb is a reliable form of investment if you are looking to rent your home for short periods of time. This allows you easy  access to your property for you to vacation whenever you desire.

The Pros

Financial Renting your home out for short term makes a lot of sense if you only get to go once or twice a month and the home otherwise stays empty. This means you aren’t paying payments, tax, insurance, utilities, etc. on an empty house that you’re not getting to enjoy. You are instead making money off your property that in turn pays for itself and then some.

Ease of Use Airbnb and VRBO make adding your home a breeze. Their fees are affordable and not as outrageous as using a property management agency. They also have an accountability system where both renters and owners can leave feedback. So if your home exceeded expectations they will leave you a fantastic review, or if they left your home a disaster zone you can rate them warning other owners they may want to raise their cleaning fee.

Flexibility You get to choose your guests, unlike a property management company who is in charge of filtering renters it is your call. You make all the final decisions on how and to who to rent your home. You are allowed to screen guests by asking them questions, putting limits on the number of people, pets, noise, etc. The fact that guests’ Facebook pages are linked to VRBO and Airbnb websites also helps you to gather information about your guest. Just like if you were hiring them for a job, if their photos are nothing but partying every night of the week, you may just want to pass.

New Connections Isn’t it always interesting to see what draws a person to a specific area? While you may never meet face to face (unless you’re renting a room not a house) you still have a conversation with people you never would have otherwise. While some guests may not mind being left to their own devices you can always offer to be a tour guide or give them ideas of what to do that their Google search did not say. If you really enjoy their company, go to the local coffee shop or market together. New friends are always welcome, and they’re much more likely to rent from you again as well.

Cultural Exchange If you love learning about new cultures, this is one of the best ways you to achieve that. You can find more about a culture by a conversation than all the research in the world. By hosting people from different places you are have the possibility to learn something new and enrich your view of the world.

The Cons

Taxes and Fees The only thing certain in life is death and taxes right? One of the challenges specific to Lewis county is the additional fees and taxes you as a host are left to pay. You will need to record the income for tax purposes of course, you will also need to save money for cleaning costs and potentially feeding costs as well.

Registering a Business Which really sounds more intimidating than it is, however you cannot list your home without doing so. This requires additional time and financial management, receipts, income, and expenses must be well documented and managed well.

The Burden of Managing Your Property The cost of your time to manage your property may be worth more than what it gives you in return. To keep your home up to standard you may have to add maintenance costs in, or furnish your home differently, or buy additional items renters are looking for such as a hot tub or pool table.

Damages It isn’t a matter of if it will happen but when. It is inevitable that at some point something will get damaged. Whether the toddler found a marker and decided to paint your walls or the college kids had too much to drink and flooded your second floor. Making sure you can have these damages covered by a homeowners policy is crucial for your business to be registered.

 

Like anything, renting your home on Airbnb or VRBO, isn’t something you should just jump into without considering the consequences. It can be a great opportunity for you to make additional income, however, it has drawbacks as well.

 

 


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


2017 Looking Back at Real Estate

 

Lewis County Market Statistics

Overall 2017 was a fantastic year for Lewis County. The amount of homes on the market went down slightly making prices higher than ever. There was a consistent amount of new listings for the year, and sold homes were on the rise. Below are some of the top statistics for 2017:

As you can tell, the number of homes decreased slightly from January 2017 with 982 to December 2017 with 868, with an overall decrease of -2.69%. At the same time home prices increased going from $154,500 in January of 2017 to $175,000 in December of 2017 going up 13.27%. With the low inventory the number of days on the market also decreased 38.18% with the average number of days in January 2017 being 55 and December 2017 being at just 34 days. The higher prices also drive a higher cost per square feet increasing 15.6% from January to December 2017.

The sales in Lewis Co. are strong with sellers continually getting an average of 97.78% of list price for the year of 2017. With the average 2017 home priced at $162,297 the seller would have received $158,694.

Overall, 2017 was an awesome year for Lewis Co. and we are looking forward to 2018 being another strong year. If you are looking to sell or buy we are more than happy to help you in anyway we can.


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Just How important is your water?

 

Can you imagine not having access to water? Even though there is a potential well on your property? With the signing of a single law you are suddenly no longer еntitlеd tо water unless уоu mееt сеrtаin (virtuаllу impossible tо mееt) соnditiоnѕ. If you live in Washington, this is your reality. The Hirѕt law аffесtѕ all new wells аnd rеlаtеd dеvеlорmеnt, аnd it may аlѕо аffесt existing wеllѕ аnd water users.

Background

Before this law there was the Growth Management Act (GMA) passed in 1990. This had three separate effects:

  1. Set up a ѕуѕtеm of оrdеr аnd control for hоuѕing аnd development
  2. Eѕtаbliѕhеd a rеvеnuе gеnеrаtiоn ѕуѕtеm fоr local gоvеrnmеnt to maintain аnd еnfоrсе соntrоl
  3. Provided аttасhmеnt роintѕ fоr еnvirоnmеntаl groups to litigаtе in оrdеr tо mаintаin аnd еxраnd gоvеrnmеnt соntrоl оvеr the mоѕt basic nееdѕ of the masses

9560796 – water pump

The GMA was supposedly set up to prevent urban sprawl, thereby benefiting individuals. However, in reality it has only given the government increased control, another revenue stream, and another loophole to allow their friends more freedom to hurt the citizens the government is supposed to be protecting.

One of the more significant impacts of the GMA is how much control it allows for. Stating the government could and in fact should manage housing for the masses. Now the Hirst law has built on that principle and taken it a step further. Hirѕt аffесtѕ all new wells аnd rеlаtеd dеvеlорmеnt, аnd it may аlѕо аffесt existing wеllѕ аnd water users. Like thе GMA, itѕ еffесtѕ will bе fеlt in еvеrу nооk аnd сrаnnу оf thе ѕtаtе.

Whatcom County v. Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board Outcome

With this ruling the court flipped the old rules on its head. Prior to this any home or business using under 5,000 gallons a day the well was allowed no questions asked. Now, however, with this ruling anyone who wishes to build a new home on rural property must prove water use will not extract a single drop from other bodies of water in the area. The only option this leaves potential home builders is to undergo a costly and complicated process to prove that no water is being taken from other bodies of water. Can you imagine trying to determine if your well was going to do this? How much time and resources this will take? Even though there is still some debate on how far this will reach outside of Whatcom county most other counties in Washington have simply followed the lead of Spokane County, and have stopped providing permits for wells completely. Thе Dераrtmеnt оf Eсоlоgу арреаrѕ tо bе fоllоwing that lеаd аѕ wеll.

Existing Wells

With all future wells under the Hirst legislation it is not hard to wonder what the potential ramifications will be for existing wells. Will this legislation open the door to all wells being required to undergo the required testing at the landowners expense?

For updated information, read The Columbian article: Deal reached on Hirst decision, capital budget


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Welcome to Flight 2018

We are prepared to take off into the New Year. Please make sure your Attitude and Blessings are secured and locked in an upright position. All self-destructive devices should be turned off at this time. All negativity, hurt and discouragement should be put away. Should we lose Attitude under pressure during this flight, reach up and pull down a prayer. Prayers will automatically be activated by Faith. Once your Faith is activated you can assist other passengers. There will BE NO BAGGAGE allowed on this flight.

The Captain has cleared us for takeoff.

Destination GREATNESS!!!

​Author unknown

 

 

 


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


HO HO HO…. We’re on the go, with the hustle & bustle of Christmas!

Although I enjoy strolling the streets, peeking into local shops to see what’s new for the Christmas season, it’s the “Home” activities I love the most. Gathering of family & friends reliving holiday traditions that have been passed on year to year.

My most favorite tradition that has been with my family for generations, is touring the area for the best decorated home. I remember Mom & Dad loading our family & friends in the old station wagon, thermoses filled with hot cocoa along with a bag of mini marshmallows and a plate of homemade sugar cookies. We’d drive around slowly through every street of our community while singing Christmas carols at the top of our lungs. Eeew’s and Awww’s followed by squeals when an exceptionally sparkly home was spotted. Wow, just writing this floods my heart with joys from Christmas’s past.

Keeping the spirit alive, we recently toured our area looking for homes decorated for the holidays, needless to say we weren’t disappointed. There were so many beautiful homes, I thought I’d share a few with you, after all isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

The warmest of Holiday wishes from my family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Blessings,

Janet

PS … Please enjoy these photos of Mossyrock area homes decorated for the holidays!

Godfrey & Swigert Roads

Swigert Road

 

Godfrey Road

Godfrey Road

 

Behind Napa

Behind Napa

De Goedes Nursery

 

 


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


10 Amenities That Get Homes Sold During Winter

Many homeowners believe attempting to sell their places during winter is a losing proposition. Real estate agents, however, know any season is the right one when a property is attractive and represents a great value.

With inventory typically lower during the cold weather months, it’s actually a perfect time to put a home on the market. It also doesn’t hurt to set the stage — or sweeten the pot, if you will — by evoking a warm and welcoming vibe that makes would-be buyers want to hang up their coats, kick off their boots, and stay a while.

There’s no denying it’s cold out there, so why not embrace it? The following are amenities that prove winter really can be the most wonderful time of the year.

1. Fire pit

Create a covetable outdoor space with the help of a fire pit. Whether it’s made of stone and serves as a permanent fixture or is a movable and affordable centerpiece for backyard S’mores-making, adding the element of fire ups the charm factor immediately.

2. Hot tub

Wait, is this a home or a five-star resort? Watching steam rise from a frothy hot tub on a chilly afternoon or evening makes anyone want to move right in! Giving a place the spa treatment, will remind home-shoppers that with this luxurious item on the premises, winter can last as long as it likes.

3. Home theater

Especially during the winter, and particularly in cold weather climates, playing up the ability to have a blast indoors does wonders for buyers’ peace of mind (more so if they’re parents). A home theater, even on a smaller scale (think flat screen and an old-fashioned popcorn maker), helps visitors envision themselves and their families surviving those endless snow days in style.

4. Fireplace

It’s almost impossible to resist the hypnotic allure of a roaring fire. According to the National Center for Real Estate Research, fireplaces have a positive impact on the selling price, with each fireplace adding about 12 percent. If a home has this feature, by all means, strike a match and watch that property heat up!

5. In-home wine bar

Baby, it’s cold outside — so why leave the house? This wine bar is one way to keep spirits merry and bright. It also conjures up thoughts of hosting holiday parties and gatherings as new owners envision celebrating and showing off their place.

6. Hot cocoa bar

On the other end of the spectrum, but no less festive, a hot cocoa bar offers a sweet welcome all ages can enjoy. Placed in the kitchen, dining room, family room, or foyer, this treat station makes you feel comfortable and right at home.

7. Wood-burning stove

Wood-burning stoves represent a delightful throwback to bygone days. Their timeless appeal will charm visitors at the same time they warm up a home. Thanks to advancements in technology, these old-fashioned heaters are more energy efficient than ever.

8. Home sauna

Calling all athletes and anyone who could use a haven from the stresses of the outside world! (So, OK, everyone!) An in-home sauna is the oasis you’ve been seeking. Steam away those cares while enjoying health benefits that include improved circulation, detoxification, and even sinus relief.

9. Storm survival kit

Throwing in a highly-desirable item often increases interest from buyers. In a snowy climate, there are few tools as sought-after as a snowblower once that white stuff starts falling. Want to keep the enticement more affordable? Heavy-duty snow shovels, high-end gloves, rock salt, and de-icer all come in handy as well. First-time home-buyers who may be snow-removal newbies will appreciate this gesture.

10. Highlight energy efficient upgrades

In addition to being comfortable temperature-wise, if a home is as energy-efficient as possible, that’s something buyers will definitely want to know — and remember. Creating a list of any upgrades to windows, doors, HVAC units, and the roof, as well as the installation of energy-saving appliances, means more money in buyers’ pockets and less going out the window.

 

 


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Give Thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving!

This happens to be one of my favorite holidays – it brings a reminder to us all about the great things we have in this world, the blessings we can count, and an overall feeling of contentment. It seems to awaken a sense of GRATITUDE.”

Our nation is facing many struggles, people are facing a number of life difficulties; loss of jobs, despair, money problems, family problems, even a sense of personal safety and security. But even so, we have a lot to be thankful for….

I hope all of you can take the time to reflect upon the things that you are grateful for….Your country, your health, your loved ones, your freedom—to the subtle-but-still-important things like your friends, your favorite book, beautiful sunsets, chocolate, ice cream, fresh air, etc.

During this time with families and friends, I reflect upon every facet of my life and how I have been blessed with great people and wonderful experiences.
With that, I say, wholeheartedly~ Thank You ~ for playing a part in my life.

Blessings,

Janet Simons
Mountain Valley Real Estate

I wish all of you a warm and love-filled Thanksgiving holiday!

 

 


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Who Ya Gonna Call?

Do you believe in “Ghosts”?

This is the time of year for haunted houses. They pop up for a few weeks, people flock to them, and then they disappear until next year.

Some people love the controlled scare of haunted houses, while others wouldn’t be caught dead (pun intended) in one.

But what about a real haunted house? How many people really want to flock to them?

Surely there’s some people who would love to check one out. But how many people would actually buy a house that’s haunted?

Which brings up a question we hear in real estate once in a while…

If a house that’s for sale is haunted, do real estate agents need to tell you?

Real estate rules, regulations, and laws vary from area to area, so there’s not just one answer to that.

But in our area…

…you know what, instead of just giving you the answer, why don’t you take a guess.

What do you think the rule is in our area? Also, do you think owners and real estate agents should disclose if a house is haunted or not?

Looking forward to seeing your response!

Leave your comments at https://www.facebook.com/JanetSimonsRealtor/

Wishing you a “Spook-tacular”  Halloween!

Janet

 
 

 
 


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate