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 Welcome to MW Real Estate Solutions and Olivia Homes!

 

Welcome to Midwest Real Estate Solutions and Olivia Homes, where we are not your typical real estate company.  What makes us different is simple.  We are committed to helping you, and your family in a very timely manner.  We work with homeowners that may be up against strict timelines, and may need to sell their property quickly.

 

Best of all, there are no surprises, just sound advice and professional service, backed by our commitment to excellence.  On top of that you will receive personal attention at each step of the process.

 

The biggest mistake we see homeowners make is that they do not explore all of their options and simply run out of time due to pressure and stress.  Pick up the phone and call us immediately to set up an information only appointment.

 

Call Midwest Real Estate Solutions and Olivia Homes at 1-800-HOPE-DAY

 

Our Mission

To better lives and communities through real estate education and proven real estate solutions.

 


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Recent Posts

Shipping Containers for Homes

Posted by on Sep 18, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Shipping Containers for Homes

You may have seen in magazines or websites people using shipping containers for homes. While it may seem rather gimmicky at first, there are definite advantages to using shipping containers if they are still solid and in good shape. A proper shipping container is large enough for most of your needs and easy enough to make the changes necessary to create your new home. Purchasing a Shipping Container You’ll want to use a reputable dealer who offers new and used shipping containers that are perfect for creating your new home. You may want to seek out a dealer that can do some modifications before they send you the container. Keep in mind that some dealers specialize in containers that are prepared for turning into a home, so they might be more expensive initially, but having the modifications completed may also save you money in the long run. Size Shipping containers are mostly standardized for good reasons, but there are some variations that you may want to consider. For example, the “high cube” type is about a foot taller than standard versions and will make it seem less claustrophobic inside. The length will vary from 10 to over 50 feet, but most versions are 30 feet long, give or take 10 feet. Keep in mind that shipping the container to you will also be expensive if you choose a very large one. Plus, you may wind up choosing more than one container which adds to the expense. Inspect Used Containers If the shipping container is used, it’s going to have some dents, dings, and perhaps separations in the walls as well. The worse shape it is in, the more work you are going to have to do in getting it ready. So, be sure you inspect the container before purchase to see if it can work for your needs. A little rust is expected, but rust that creates holes should eliminate the container from consideration. Keep in mind the wood flooring is loaded with pesticides, so you’ll need to seal it and the odor may not be to your liking as well. All in all, the container will need to pass inspection before you make the purchase. Do not expect perfection, but don’t eliminate a container from consideration if it has a few dings or small patches of rust. Have a Plan in Place You should have the final design ready long before you make the purchase. If you don’t know what you are going to do with the shipping container down to the final window, furniture placement, or location, then you should not be shopping for one. Remember that plans can change once you get the container, but you need a plan first so you can get what you want from the container. The use of shipping containers for home is a phenomenon that shows no signs of slowing down. For those who are looking for a less-expensive alternative to building a traditional home, using a good shipping container offers many...

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How to Build a Fire Pit

Posted by on Sep 11, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

How to Build a Fire Pit

If you like cooking over a campfire, then adding a fire pit to your backyard will make it easy to cook hot dogs or make s’mores whenever you like. The good news is the learning how to build a fire pit does not take long and you can use it repeatedly for years to come. Here are the steps needed to create a permanent fire pit in your backyard that is safe and simple to use. Get the Right Tools You probably have picked out a spot which should be a good distance away from your home, shed, fence, and anything else that might be compromised. Check with local guidelines and ordinances to confirm the minimum distance from structures. The next step is getting the proper tools so you can create your fire pit. Bricks and Gravel Twine, Tape Measure, and Stake Shovel, Tamp, Trowel, and a Level The bricks should be strong like concrete pavers, wall bricks, or better yet fire bricks that are designed for fire pits. Your goal is to create two different layers to minimize heat penetration. Make a Circle Take your stake and plant it in the center. Tie a piece of twine to the stake that represents the size of the pit. Tie the other end to the trowel and dig the outer rim of the pit. Total circumference should be four to five feet. Dig Out the Grass, Tamp Down the Dirt, and Make It Level Now, dig out all the grass on the inside with the shovel to a depth of at least six inches, but 12 inches is recommended. Be sure there are no gas or utility lines below. Once the pit is dug, use the tamp to flatten the dirt. This will create a solid base for your fire pit. When tamping, use the level to ensure that it is even. Add Gravel and Place the Bricks Now that it’s ready, put in the gravel until it fills up the bottom two inches of the pit. Make sure that the gravel is relatively level as well, but you don’t have to be too precise. Once the gravel is done, place the bricks in circle just on the inside of the fire pit. The bricks should form a circle with a few inches of gravel on the outside to spare. You’ll need three layers of bricks and perhaps an inner layer as well. Mortar is an option, but if the bricks are heavy and solid you will not need it. Still, adding fire-resistant mortar between the bricks provides for greater stability and peace of mind that flickers of flame or hot ask will not escape and set fire to the surrounding grass. Learning how to build a fire pit will turn your backyard into a camping area that you can enjoy with family and friends. A proper fire pit is safe and prevents accidents compared to cooking over a standard campfire. If you love to cook outdoors or just sit by a warm fire, building a fire pit is the...

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Lowering Your Electric Bill

Posted by on Sep 4, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Lowering Your Electric Bill

It seems that everyone is interested in reducing electricity and lowering their energy bill. The good news is that there are some simple, inexpensive ways to save money by lowering your electric bill by consuming less electricity. Here are a few ways you can cut down on the energy you are using and have lower electricity bills to pay. Air Conditioning One of the biggest users of electricity is your air conditioner. The less you use it over the summer months, the more you will save. An easy way to save money is by installing blinds or heavy drapes on windows that face the sun, such as the south side of the home. By blocking out the heat of the sun, the house will take longer to warm up. A quick way to save is adjusting your thermostat by a couple of degrees upward for the summer and downward in the winter. Just a degree or two will not be noticed by you or your family, but it can save you money on every bill. Another way to save is by adding a ceiling fan. While this will cost money initially, it will save you money by circulating the cooler air downward so that your air conditioner runs less. By reversing the direction of the blades, you can also save money in the winter as warm hair is distributed better throughout the home. Lights You can start saving by replacing all your incandescent bulbs with LEDs which use but a fraction of the electricity. Another way to save is one of the oldest, shutting the lights off whenever you leave a room. Get you and your family into the habit of shutting off all lights and checking before you go to bed. Another way to save is by installing timers in rooms which are used intermittently throughout the day, such as the bathroom. By putting in a timer, the light will go off even if you forget so you continue to save money. Heating Water The less hot water you use, the less your energy bill will be. Consider washing your clothes in cold water which will save you every time you do your laundry. Another area where you can save money is by only using your dishwasher once per day or only when it is full. The less you use your dishwasher, the less hot water will be used. By lowering your hot water heater to 120F, you can save a considerable amount on your electricity bill. This is because heating water takes considerable energy, so even just shaving off a few degrees can save you money each month. Plus, you reduce the risk of accidents with scalding water. Simple methods in reducing electricity means paying less each month which over time can make a real difference. When you consider that most of these methods cost little to no money, it makes good budget sense. Lowering your electric bill is one smart way to put more cash in your pocket and take more control of your expenditures....

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Hidden cost of Home Ownership

Posted by on Aug 28, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Hidden cost of Home Ownership

Being a home owner for the first time means facing costs that you may not have expected such as maintenance, insurance, and other expenses. Over time, the costs can really add up if you are not careful which means it becomes more difficult to pay off your home mortgage. You will need to account for the costs that you will need to pay for your home to be properly maintained and covered so you can maximize the value of your investment. Creating a Budget Perhaps it’s not surprising, but up to one-third of all home buyers woefully underestimate the budget needed to cover the cost of home ownership. This means that about 33% of home owners will find themselves struggling to pay the bills because they underestimated the expenses that came with owning a home. Before you purchase a property, you will need to create a budget based on your current income and additional expenses that includes your vehicle, kids, food, and other payments that you need to make in addition to the following basic costs of owning a home. Basic Costs However, it pays to know just what hidden costs you will be facing as part of your home ownership. The good news is that there are several websites that can help you assess the costs before buying a home. sites such as Thumbtack and Zillow will list out all the expenses you can expect to face as a home owner and even narrow it down to your part of the country. For example, Indianapolis residents pay roughly $4,700 per year in terms of annual expenses, give or take utility costs while San Francisco residents pay upwards of $13,000 per year. This is based on the price or value of the home and the cost of insurance, taxes, and certain other expenses. A big part of home ownership is the unavoidable costs that you will need to consider before making your purchase. The average home owner pays just over $6,000 annually on property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. This can be a considerable chuck of money from your paycheck, so you will need to consider the costs before buying a home. The average home owner will pay around $9,000 per year on utility costs. Of course, utility costs may seem obvious, but depending on where you live it may be higher than expected. Sites such as UtilityScore offers estimates based on your location which considers the rates that average home owners are paying. This can be quite helpful if you are looking at monthly costs when paying for your residence. Keeping Up the Property One of the most overlooked expenses of home ownership is basic maintenance costs along with paying for upgrades. Some of the expenses that you may charge professionals to do include, but are not limited to the following; Cleaning Gutters, Yard Work, and Landscaping House Cleaning, HVAC Maintenance, and Pressure Washing Carpet Cleaning and More Depending on where you live, the cost of paying others to do these jobs range from $2,000 to $4,000 per year. Add up these expenses and you’ll have a rough idea of the cost of home...

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Where to List Vacation Rentals

Posted by on Aug 21, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Where to List Vacation Rentals

You have fixed up the property and made it the perfect vacation rental for those looking to stay in your community. Now all need to do is market your property in the right places so you can draw in the visitors. Of course, before you start looking where to list vacation rentals, you should check the local, state, and federal regulations to see what is allowable and what is not when adverting your property. If your property falls in line with the regulations and you have the proper insurance, the next step is getting it out on the market. Build Your Own Site You might start by considering building your own website. It will need to provide all the necessary information, provide valuable info on the nearby events or locations that draw in potential renters, and offer everything needed so that someone can book the dates they want and pay for them online. The better the website, the better your chances at filling your vacation home with eager renters. The only downside is that you will have to do the marketing which may be quite time consuming. Instead of building your own site, you might want to consider the following sites to place your vacation property. Rent Like a Champion This is a site dedicated to areas of the country that have popular events that take place during the year, such as college football games, races, or similar competitions. This is the perfect site to attract those who are traveling to the big game as there are no annual fees, it’s perfect for niche vacation rentals where no other popular attractions are around, and everything is done on the site itself. However, there is a high service fee for each use, so keep that in mind. Popular Vacation Rental Sites This includes online locations such as HomeAway, VacationRentals.com, and VRBO which are designed specifically to reach out to those seeking vacation properties in your area. The biggest drawback is the high annual fee, but if you live in a popular area it certainly is worth getting your vacation property listed on these sites. They all have fast booking systems in place, calendars to check availability, and most importantly a wide net to reach out to potential renters. Of course, expect a lot of competition when using these sites. AirBnB This is one of the most popular places to list vacation properties for many good reasons. First, there are no annual fees and if you live in a popular area, you may find that the home stays rented during the entire season. It’s cheap to list your home and it reaches a very large audience. However, keep in mind that there is no booking calendar that is available, so you will have to keep track yourself and sometimes the fees charged to the tenants may turn some away. Understanding where to list vacation rentals will help you find the right one for your needs, providing an excellent experience for the renter, and maximizing your profit potential while fulfilling the needs of those who rent your...

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Home Improvement Projects with the Highest ROI

Posted by on Aug 14, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Home Improvement Projects with the Highest ROI

It’s common for homeowners to improve their property in some fashion to boost its chances of selling at a higher price. However, not all home improvement projects are alike and many of the most expensive ones prove to be little to no value in terms of their Return of Investment (ROI). So, here are a few home improvement projects with the highest ROI so you can choose the ones that really work. Landscape Remember, the first thing that people notice about your property is the front yard. So, the better it looks, the more curb appeal it offers. Properly cut grass and trimmed trees and hedges add real value to the sale because of their attractiveness. However, you can do a little more to set your home apart by adding a little landscaping. Consider adding low maintenance plants and a simple rock garden which both beautifies your property and tells potential buyers that they need only do a little work to keep it up. Remember to keep things simple and straightforward when landscaping your property so that you get the most ROI. Bathroom Remodeling If there is any one place that potential buyers check out in the home, apart from the kitchen, it is the bathroom. There are two basic reasons, the first being the overall condition of the bathroom which is subject to moisture levels that cause mold and mildew to form. The second is their fixtures, which if out of date will not go over well with buyers. So, you’ll want to address both issues if your bathrooms need remodeling. The good news is that many of these projects are relatively inexpensive and will boost your ROI. Resurface or Repaint Tubs, Showers, Sinks, and Countertops Resurface or Replace Tile on Your Own Purchase Your Own Fixtures Resurfacing can save you up to 50% compared to replacing tile, tubs, showers, sinks, and countertops while providing the same effect. By purchasing new fixtures and replacing them yourself, you can save even more money. However, for electrical fixtures you’ll want to use an electrician or electrical contractor. Cabinets Your kitchen cabinets are, next the bathroom, arguably the one thing that most potential buyers will hone in on when viewing the inside of your home. Naturally, the entire kitchen should be clean and looking like new, but you can do more by renovating your kitchen cabinets which will have the most impact. If they are old, out of date, and in need of repair, then consider having them replaced even though this is the more expensive option. Replacing them with new cabinets means that your kitchen gets an entirely new look. However, for cabinets that are still in good shape, consider repainting or refinishing them instead. Another option is to add laminate or wood veneer over the drawers and cabinets to provide them with an entirely new appearance for a fraction of the cost compared to replacement. Using these home improvement projects with the highest ROI means that you can boost the value of your home while not having to spend a fortune....

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How Local Real Estate Markets are Affected

Posted by on Aug 7, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

How Local Real Estate Markets are Affected

There are many things that that come into play when considering how real estate markets are affected. If you are buying or selling a home, even seemingly small news may have a major impact on the marketplace. Of course, the news that may affect the prices of homes is often more local than national, but keeping an eye on events in your community provides a leg-up when selling your property. Here are five of the most common ways that local news or events may affect the price of homes in your area. Supply and Demand Arguably the most common impact is the ratio of supply and demand on the real estate market. If your community has few homes for sale and the demand is high, then as a seller you are in a good position to make a considerable profit. Of course, the opposite is true if there are lots of homes on the market and relatively few buyers. In addition, the number of foreclosures and properties owned by banks in a community has a powerful effect on prices. If you are selling a home, be sure to go over the market to see if the conditions are favorable or not. Local Conditions Sometimes called demographics, this is really about the current condition of the neighborhood in which you are selling your home. The considerations that go into the demographics include, but are not limited to the following; Unemployment Crime Rate Strength of Schools Mill Rate Tax Rates New Housing Permits and More All these factors play a strong role in how well your home will sell in the neighborhood. Knowing them means you can adjust your expectations and if you can find ways to address one or more, it may make a positive impact. Short Sales and Foreclosures While the numbers have been greatly reduced since the housing market crisis in 2008, there are still many places that have yet to fully recover. Foreclosures and short sales are mostly properties that sell for far less than the average value of the home itself. Look for changes in the numbers to see if they have improved in recent months. That will be an indication of a healthier selling market. Average Number of Days on the Market The average number of days homes are on the market gives arguably the single best piece of information that you can use. The longer homes are on the market, the more difficulty you will have in selling your property. Keep in mind that the average number of days will change due to varying factors, but it does give you a snapshot into the real estate marketing at least in your community. Cost Basically, the more prices are rising in your community, the better it is for selling your home. This means that demand is up and putting your home on the market becomes a better idea. Falling prices however, are not good for your chances at selling your home. That means demand is down and you may have to drop your price to sell. Understanding how local real estate markets are affected by different factors will help you better sell your property.      ...

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How to Sell a Home Without a Realtor

Posted by on Jul 17, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

How to Sell a Home Without a Realtor

For most people, a realtor is too good an asset to not have when trying to sell your home. While it may seem that you can keep more of the money from the sale, your chances of selling are less and you run the risk of making basic mistakes that might cost you far more. However, there are certain circumstances where selling a home on your own makes better sense. So, here are five tips to help you understand how to sell a home without a realtor. Present Your Home Properly The best thing to keep in mind is that showing your home starts with having it properly cleaned and removing all personal items from view. Essentially, you’ll want to present a blank slate so that potential buyers can see themselves adding their own items to the home. Remove all the clutter from the inside and outside and make sure everything is clean and presentable. Advertising Your Home You will need to reach out to the community to sell your home, which means that you’ll have to think about advertising. You will want to start with the internet, but then you should also take advantage of the traditional media as well, including signs, postings in real estate publications, and finding sites on the internet that allow you to sell your home. The more you can reach out, the more likely you will find a potential buyer. Take Advantage of the Internet You’ll need to give potential buyers as much information as possible which means harnessing the advantages of the internet. You’ll want to build your own website so that you can properly display your home and provide all the crucial information. This means having the basics such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, pictures and video of the interior and exterior, and helping people contact you so that you can provide them with additional information. Plus, setting up a website is cheaper than ever, so you’ll need to do that. Be Social You will not have the resources of a real estate agent, but you can make up for most of that by being present on social media. Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook provide you with a way of responding to potential buyers no matter your location. By working through social media sites, you can have the type of fast, personal contact with potential buyers that is crucial towards making a sale. So, build your website and set up your social media accounts. Get a Lawyer While you can save money by not using a real estate agent, you will need a skilled attorney to handle all the legal matters of selling your home. This is because one mistake in the legal process can run off a potential buyer or worse, have you selling your home for far less than it’s worth. So, do not skimp when it comes to getting a good lawyer. Understanding how to sell a home without a realtor starts by evaluating whether the money you save by not paying commissions is worth the extra effort. Depending on the circumstances of your sale, you might find that doing all the work yourself is worth it, but if you are in doubt, go with a realtor.  ...

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Fair Housing Act Do’s and Don’ts

Posted by on Jul 10, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Fair Housing Act Do’s and Don’ts

The Fair Housing Act brings with it considerations for landlords that they must respect if they are going to properly respond to their tenants’ concerns. Any violation of the act, intentional or not, may result in a lawsuit that leans heavily towards the tenant and might cost you considerably more than just a fine. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to consider if you either own or plan to purchase rental properties. Advertising All ads that you send out to bring in tenants much comply with the act. This means that while you can restrict pets or smoking, you cannot restrict the presence of children or young adults. Even if you have not had good experiences with kids or teenagers, you will need to put that aside when advertising for new tenants. Any doubt about how your ad is presented should be taken to an attorney knowledgeable about real estate to ensure that it complies. Understand the Law First and foremost, you will need to act within the confines of the law when working with your tenants. You can start with the HUD website for a general outline of what the Fair Housing Act requires. Keep in mind that while many of the rules and regulations are obvious and grounded in common sense, there are a few that may catch you by surprise. Remember, ignorance of the law is no excuse, so you should be well versed on the act and all applicable laws. Record All Interactions with Tenants and Prospective Tenants This doesn’t mean you need to write down every passing greeting, but it does mean that any substantial interaction need to be recorded in a journal or diary so that if litigation should arise weeks later, you’ll be able to recall the details of the initial event. This is especially true for any interaction that had negative consequences, such as an application that was rejected, fines being applied to a tenant, charges for repairs, and so forth. Anything You Say May Be Held Against You Basically, this means that you should keep all conversation between you and your tenants on a strictly professional basis. Any personal feelings that may present, even seemingly innocent ones like boasting about your favorite football team, may be used against you in court. So, no matter your personal feelings, always be polite and courteous to your tenants and treat them all equally. Be Consistent In other words, follow the same questionnaire with all your potential tenants and treat every tenant you currently have in the same manner. Consistency is important because any significant variation may cost you in court. If you treat one tenant or prospective tenant differently than the rest for whatever reason, it becomes problematic to defend your actions. The Fair Housing Act means that you need to be aware of the rules, regulations, and guidelines that govern your actions when it comes to the tenants on your property. If you are considering purchasing rental property, then you’ll need to become familiar with what the act covers and how you should...

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Getting Offers Accepted

Posted by on Jul 3, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Getting Offers Accepted

There are times when your offer may be quickly accepted or rejected, but quite often an offer will sit out there for weeks without any response which leaves you in limbo. When you consider that sellers will often have to choose between multiple offers, getting offers accepted can be a trying experience. Here are a few tips that will help get your offers noticed and acted upon in a faster manner. While not all offers will be accepted, it is better to know sooner than later. Keep the Offer Clean If you are bidding on a property that has several other bidders, you will need to make a clean, clear offer that is easy to understand. A sloppy or incomplete offer, even one that is missing a single signature, can doom your chances immediately. So, be sure to fill out the contracts correctly and go over your presentation so that it is clear and clean. You may still get rejected, but often the notice will come sooner since you do not have what the seller wants. It’s not the best news, but at least you don’t have to wait weeks to find out. Finances in Order No matter the clarity of your offer, if the finances are not clear, then you might be rejected quickly even if it is the highest bid for the property. You will need to show that the finances are present for you to make the purchase and be sure to update the information so that it is no more than thirty days old. The more details you provide in your proof of funds, the more serious your offer will be taken if it ranks among the best. Plan Your Concessions The art of the deal so to speak is not making concessions, but how you negotiate them to the greatest effect. This means that you must be willing to move, but in a manner that still provides confidence to the seller. So, moving a little on the price or acquiescing to a specific demand is one thing, but quickly agreeing to concessions that move you way off your asking price may cause the seller to balk. After all, if you are willing to move that far, that quickly, there must be an unknown reason for doing so. It’s More than the Price Quite often, the highest bidder does not get the property. There are many factors as to why this is true, but the more you can make your offer stand out beyond the amount itself, the better your chances will be of getting the property. One way is to provide a reason why you made the offer at that amount. From similar sales to the condition of the property itself, use what you can to demonstrate why you bid what you did for the property. You may be surprised at the difference that it makes. In the end, getting offers accepted often requires greater clarity in presentation, conceding where you can, quickly reacting to counter-offers, and providing good information on your funding sources. This will help make your offers cleaner, easier to understand, and provide a better chance of being accepted or at least considered...

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