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How To Put That Extra Space In Your Property To Good Use

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A lot of investment properties have something we call bonus space.

It’s space that isn’t quite a bedroom, maybe not really living space, but doesn’t have any one specific use.

So, how do you use this space to create value for your investment property?

Well, that depends…

Can It Become A Bedroom?

A bedroom is almost always going to be the highest value use of any bonus area, so let’s try that first. So, it’s time to look up your local health/building codes to determine the requirements for a bedroom.

The International Residential Code, which most states follow, has several requirements to be considered a bedroom. States and municipalities are free to add on top of this, and some areas don’t use the IRC as their code.

Most places have a square footage requirement and also require a window and a closet. But, different states/municipalities may have different requirements so look them up.

Note About Egresses

Basements and Attics are notoriously bad places to be during a fire. There may be requirements for additional egresses for any living space that is in these two areas. Make sure you know all of the requirements before trying to make a bedroom.

Once you know the requirements, you can determine if a simple project can convert this random bonus space can be used as a bedroom.

For example, if it just needs a larger window, simply hire someone to install it. If you need a closet, get one put in.

It becomes more challenging if you need another egress added to a basement though.

It Can’t Be A Bedroom, Now What?

Most bonus space can’t be used as a bedroom, so don’t feel bad about that. The next thing is to figure out exactly what you can do with the space.

Determine What Kind Of Space You Have

The first step is to figure out exactly what you’re working with and what it can look like when you’re finished.

Regardless if it’s in an attic, basement, porch area, or whatever, it’ll need to be finished with drywall, paint, floors, lights, and heat/ac. Your bonus space probably has some of these already, but often not all.

Keep in Mind The Location

Basements are usually cool and damp, so you may need extra heat during the winter and a dehumidifier in the summer.

Attics are really hot, so you’ll need to add extra air conditioner. Also, you need to make sure your roof is ventilated properly before completely finishing an attic so take that into consideration before adding drywall to the rafters.

Every area will have it’s own unique considerations before starting the project.

Figure Out Its Highest and Best Use

This is really open to interpretation, but you need to figure out it’s best use for other people.

The best thing to do is to look at comparable sales in your market area. Look at what most other people are putting into their properties, then just copy them.

Here are a few common ways people use their bonus space

Den Or Media Room

The most common way people use their extra space is by using it as a second living room, den, or media room. These are all different words for similar things.

Basically, one living room will be a bit more formal for having guests over. The den or media room will be for watching TV or movies mostly.

If you are outfitting a room for this use, it might be beneficial to install speaker wires around the room (this is very cheap), and make sure there is cable and internet hookups.

Game Room

If your investment property already has an area dedicated as a den, you might want to consider outfitting it as a game room.

A Game Room is a room in the house for relaxing or socializing. It is typically furnished with a Pool TablePing Pong TableDart Area, or other recreational amenities.

Storage

A lot of people just need extra space for storage. Having a clean and dry area to toss junk is the lowest value use, but still important. Having this finished space will most likely make it more valuable anyhow.

Advertising Bonus Space

The next step is to advertise your bonus space. You’re either listing this property for sale, or listing it for rent (it’s an investment property, right?).

It’s important to bring attention to the bonus space, especially if it’s not listed in the square footage or other information about the property. This is really common for basements and attics.

In this situation, bring attention to it and make people image what they could use it for, but don’t specifically say it can be used for things that it shouldn’t be used as (such as a bedroom). People will often use the space however they want, including as a bedroom, but you should not encourage this if it’s not a legal bedroom.

So, you’d could potentially say something like:

There is an extra 400 square feet of finished bonus space in the attic that could be a game room for you and your friends, media room for late night movies, or whatever else you can imagine! It is heated, cooled, and has everything you need to enjoy it day and night all year long.

But you’d never want to say something like

There is an extra 300 square feet of finish bonus space in the basement that could be used as a media room, den, game room, or even an extra bedroom when friends come visit.

…assuming the bedroom is not legally a bedroom in your jurisdiction.

Charging For The Space

It’s hard to say what bonus space is worth, but it’s worth something.

The only way to figure it out is to try to sell it or rent it out, and see what the market will give you.

This article originally appeared on IdealREI.  Follow them on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Real Estate Investing

How To Invest In Real Estate With (Almost) Zero Taxes

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So you just sold one of your stock or bond investments and now you’re about to get crushed with capital gains taxes, right?

Not quite…

You see, you still have options to defer or even completely eliminate those taxes using a new loophole in the system.

Let me explain.

Opportunity Fund Investing is a newly-minted tax-advantaged method of investing in real estate that will accessible to individual investors, not just institutional capital.

What are opportunity funds?

Opportunity Funds are a new tax -advantaged investment vehicles created as part of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017.

The concept was introduced as part of the Investing in Opportunity Act – a bipartisan bill that was included alongside the broader tax bill -but has received far less attention until now.

The goal is to help spur greater private-sector investment in targeted communities across the country called Opportunity Zones.

What are opportunity zones?

Opportunity Zones are designated census tracts selected by the state and federal governments for economic development.

Opportunity zones can be found in every state and in urban, suburban and rural areas. These are areas that have historically been passed over by investment capital, and meet certain qualifications with respect to poverty levels and/or sub-median income levels.

Qualifying census tracts must meet a minimum threshold of its population living below the poverty line, and/or a max average income of 80% area median income.

This hardly means, however, that these areas should be unappealing to investors.

Many of the opportunity zones already established are centrally-located infill neighborhoods in thriving metros that, while less affluent than their cities overall, already exhibit signs of economic vibrance and should continue to develop alongside the broader metro.

Market fundamentals already support investments in many of these census tracts. This new system of tax incentives should make such investments all the more compelling.

Why invest in opportunity funds?

Qualifying investments offer three unique and compelling tax advantages – investors can defer paying federal capital gains from recently sold investments until December 31, 2026, reduce that tax payment by up to 15%, and pay as little as zero taxes on their Opportunity Fund investment if held for 10+ years.

Opportunity Fund investing also offers the chance to have material impact on the well-being of under-resourced communities.

This presents the opportunity for individual investors to include real estate in their portfolio of “triple-bottom-line” investments – those that not only yield compelling returns, but also yield positive social impact.

Even if you’re only concerned with net returns, however, the tax advantages alone should pique your interest.

What kind of gains are eligible for tax deferral?

Investors may defer capital gains tax on any recently sold investment – including the sale of stocks, bonds or real estate – so long as those gains are rolled over into an Opportunity Fund investment within 180 days of sale.

Simply put, this new program for tax-advantaged investing is a sea-change in how investors are able to reduce capital gains tax, and carries the potential of funneling huge volumes of capital to communities across the country that need more affordable housing and more efficient access to equity for small business.

If done well and with proper oversight and guidance from the Treasury Department, this may truly create win-win-win investments across the country.

Many markets in the U.S. are suffering from an acute affordable housing shortage.

This exciting new program affords individual investors the chance to invest in the revitalization of neighborhoods across the country, while potentially earning very compelling after-tax returns.

 

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Real Estate Investing

5 Strategies To Close Your First Real Estate Deal

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