If you are looking to jump into the real estate market as a way to grow your wealth and reach new heights of success with a vacation rental, then you can accomplish your goals with a little help. It is all about knowing the rules of the games and making the changes that can help you to stand out from the rest. Here at Red Horse Home Inspection, we love to see fellow professionals succeed, so we have some tips for how you can find the perfect vacation rental and maximize your earnings potential.


Tackle Business Basics


Gaining a deep understanding of business fundamentals is critical for success as a real estate investor. One effective way to enhance your knowledge and skills in this area is by going back to school to earn a business degree. Pursuing a business degree online is a strategic move that can prepare you for wealth building through real estate investment. It covers essential topics such as finance, marketing, and strategic planning, which are pivotal in making informed investment decisions and developing robust business strategies. 


Moreover, earning your degree online offers huge time savings, as it allows you to learn at your own pace and accommodate your studies within the rest of your busy schedule. This flexibility ensures that you can continue to focus on your current real estate activities while simultaneously equipping yourself with the knowledge needed for long-term success.


Digital Marketing


In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for attracting potential clients and investors. Learning about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and keywording can significantly enhance the visibility of your online content, whether it’s property listings, investment insights, or market analysis. Fortunately, there are numerous free online resources available that can help you grasp the fundamentals of these techniques. 


These resources offer valuable insights into how to optimize your website and social media content, ensuring that your real estate investment business ranks higher in search engine results, thereby reaching a wider audience.


Print Marketing

Effective marketing of your rental properties is key, and flyer design can play a crucial role in this. Utilizing a free online design tool can be a game-changer in creating eye-catching and informative flyers. These tools offer a plethora of customization options, including a wide array of design elements, fonts, and templates, allowing you to craft a flyer that not only stands out but also resonates with your target audience. 

The intuitive interface of these design tools makes it easy for anyone, regardless of graphic design experience, to produce professional-looking flyers. Once created, you can either post these flyers on social media platforms to reach a broad audience digitally or download and print them for local distribution.

Consider the Costs That Are Involved


While you may be excited about the money you will be making down the road, you must also understand that you will need to spend your own cash to get your project off of the ground. You may need to pay for building costs, legal fees, permit costs, pay maintenance bills, and more. You will also likely be required to put a down payment on a potential home. When it comes to buying vacation homes, NJ Lenders Corp. notes that you’ll likely need to pay a 20% down payment or more.


If you do not have that money on hand, then all is not lost. You can take out a loan from the bank, try crowdfunding, take out a second mortgage on your existing home, or obtain a home equity loan. If you choose the last option, then you can get a lot of money upfront, and you can use that to make your rental the best it can be.


Assess the Rental Market


A critical step is to assess the competition in the local rental market. Understanding what you’re up against is key to positioning your property effectively. Utilize an online search tool to browse local apartments and rental homes. This will give you a comprehensive view of the pricing, amenities, and unique selling points offered by competitors in your area. By analyzing these factors, you can gauge the standard of living and price range that potential renters expect. This insight is invaluable in setting a competitive rental price for your property and determining which amenities and upgrades could increase its appeal and value.


Renovate the Kitchen


Renovating the kitchen in your investment properties can substantially increase their value and appeal. Key updates such as upgrading appliances to more energy-efficient models, replacing outdated flooring with durable and stylish options, and refinishing the cabinets to refresh their look can make a significant impact. 


Upgrade Your Rental Property


If you really want to bring in the cream of the crop, then consider spending some extra money to add in some great amenities that will excite potential customers. A big one is a pool or a hot tub. If you can swing either then you could potentially double the interest in your property. There are also many cosmetic changes that you can consider, including adding new countertops, improving bathroom faucets, replacing the floor, and adding tile.


These days, many customers are also excited about the idea of being eco-friendly, so consider adding energy-efficient LEDs throughout the home, energy efficient appliances, and low flow shower heads that do the job just as well but without the wasted energy. You might also consider smart home options that improve efficiency, such as a smart thermostat and smart lighting options.


As you can see, there are many tips and tricks that you can use to make your first vacation rental a hit. Consider earning a business degree, digitizing your documents, finding the right home, going back to school to sharpen your business know-how, and other strategies to help you succeed.


From contracts and home inspection reports to mortgage applications and financial records demanding your attention, there’s an awful lot of paperwork that goes with buying or selling a house. In fact, it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning in documents! Worse yet, misplacing important files or overlooking proper paperwork procedures can lead to delays, legal issues, and even financial setbacks.


As a home buyer or seller, it’s crucial that you know what to expect in terms of real estate paperwork, familiarize yourself with common forms and documents, and follow proper procedures. To help you stay organized, Red Horse Home Inspection is here to share some tips and insights into the paperwork associated with buying and selling a home.


Familiarize Yourself with the Documents


Whether you’re buying or selling a home, you’ll have to navigate several common documents. Paperwork required for home selling includes deeds, surveys, property tax receipts, renovation contracts, and transferable warranties. You will need to assemble these documents and provide them to the buyer. If you made structural changes to your home that required a permit, you may also need to supply the buyer with certificates of compliance


For buyers, MovingWaldo lists several important property documents you will need to be familiar with:


  • Real estate purchase agreement
  • Property transfer documents
  • Land transfer tax documents
  • Statement of Adjustments
  • Mortgage Assignment Agreement
  • Property survey or land survey
  • Home inspection report


Keep in mind that the mortgage application process also comes with various paperwork requirements. Be prepared with your tax slips, NOAs, job letters, pay stubs, and bank statements. These documents will provide information about your financial stability and eligibility for a mortgage.


Digitizing Paperwork


Keeping your documents organized digitally is not only eco-friendly but also ensures you always have immediate access to your files, regardless of where you are. When transitioning from paper to digital records, a common hurdle is managing an overwhelming number of individual files. However, you can merge all your files effortlessly using a PDF merging tool, streamlining your document management process. 


This approach consolidates all your documents into a single file, significantly reducing the time spent searching for specific documents. Furthermore, once you’ve combined your PDF files, these tools often allow you to rearrange the pages, enabling you to get your records in the exact order you need. This method of document organization is efficient, secure, and simplifies access and retrieval, making it an invaluable practice for both personal and professional document management.


Keep Your Paperwork Organized


If you’re buying and selling a home at the same time, all this paperwork can quickly get out of hand. Come up with an organizational system early on so you can stay on top of things. For example, set up a filing system in your home for any hard copies you need to store. You may want to create separate binders or folders for selling and buying. Consider adding color-coded sections to make your life easier.


Seek Professional Assistance


If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of documents in front of you, don’t hesitate to get help from a professional. You’ll be interacting with several professionals throughout the home buying and selling process, and many of these experts will be able to provide guidance when it comes to filling out forms, reviewing documents, and submitting contracts. 


Make Yourself Familiar with Real Estate Documents


Navigating the paperwork involved in buying or selling a home requires knowledge, organization, and professional support. By familiarizing yourself with the necessary documents involved in buying and selling, establishing an efficient organizational system, and seeking guidance from experienced real estate professionals, you can streamline the process and ensure a successful transaction!


Red Horse Home Inspection is the trustworthy home inspector you’ve been looking for. Reach out today to get started!

When you are buying a home in the Black Hills, you can trust Red Horse Home Inspection,
which provides service beyond inspection day. Reach out today for more information! 605-

To attract the best tenants, it is important to keep your property up-to-date and well-
maintained. The more attractive your rental property is, the easier it will be for you to find
quality tenants who are willing to stay longer and pay their rent on time. Here are some
tips from Red Horse Home Inspection on how to make your rental more attractive and
stand out from the competition.

Deep Clean

DoorLoop notes that a deep clean should be done before you list your rental property. This
includes cleaning carpets and floors, dusting, vacuuming furniture, wiping down surfaces
and walls, and decluttering any areas of the property that have become cluttered or
disorganized. Deep cleaning will help make a good first impression with potential renters.

Add Fresh Paint

It’s always a good idea to give your property a fresh coat of paint before listing it for rent.
Not only will this make the interior of the property look more inviting and updated, but it
also helps protect walls from wear and tear caused by tenants. If you don't have time to do
this yourself, consider hiring a professional painting service for a job well done.

Invest in New Appliances

Upgrading appliances can help make your rental more attractive for potential tenants and
also save them money in energy costs in the long run, explains Nest Finders. Consider
upgrading old appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, dryers and washers
with energy-efficient models that are approved by Energy Star ratings or other certification

Modernize with Smart Technology

Installing smart technology in your rental can be an attractive feature for potential tenants
because they can control features such as lighting or thermostats remotely from their
smartphones or other devices easily. Smart technology can also help reduce energy costs
since it is designed to be more efficient. Additionally, installing smart technology provides
an extra layer of security since you can monitor activity at your rental remotely while away
from home.

Upgrade Flooring with Modern Materials

Installing modern flooring materials such as hardwood or laminate is another way to make
your rental more attractive for potential tenants. You may also want to consider installing
eco-friendly flooring options such as bamboo which is highly sustainable because it grows
quickly with minimal water consumption compared with hardwood trees which take years
longer before they can be harvested into usable lumber products.

Invest in a Vacation Home

Your rental property doesn’t have to be a full time residence. There are some great
advantages to buying a vacation home to rent out. People will generally pay a lot of money
if you find a property in a desirable location. Plus, your rates will fluctuate depending on
the time of year as demand changes. You can also block out specific time periods when you
want to use the home yourself.
Buying a vacation home is a little more challenging than buying a primary residence, but
there are ways to get around that cost, too. You could go in on the investment with a few
friends or family members. If you treat it as a timeshare some of the year and rent it more
often than not, the rentals will still likely pay for the house itself. There are plenty of ways
you can play with the costs, and the benefits of owning a vacation home can be great.

Advertise Your Rental

Once you’ve updated your rental with modern materials and appliances, advertise it online
using platforms like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace so that prospective renters know
about its availability. Additionally, you may want to consider setting up a website
specifically dedicated to advertising your rental properties. PDFs are the most SEO friendly
format, so if you plan to post fliers or images of the property, you can easily convert them
into a PDF with the help of a PDF file converter by simply dragging and dropping them into
the tool.
You can also choose to hire a property management company that will manage advertising,
screening tenants, and maintaining the property. This can be a great choice if you have
multiple investment properties or have another full time job.

Protect Yourself With an LLC

Forming an LLC (limited liability company) is one way landlords can protect themselves
against certain legal issues that could arise from renting out their properties—especially if
they own multiple rentals—by limiting personal liability if claims were made against them
as owners of those properties.
As an LLC, you're providing yourself with security, peace of mind and assurance that your
assets can be shielded from any future disputes or lawsuits that may arise between
antagonists such as unhappy former tenants.

Discover the Benefits of Real Estate Investing

Landlords can ensure their rentals stand out from the competition by making updates like a
brand-new paint job and modern upgrades like hardwood or bamboo flooring. Smart
technology adds an extra layer of convenience, while setting up an LLC protects against
legal challenges associated with ownership. By utilizing these strategies regularly in
routine maintenance schedules, landlords will be able to attract high-caliber tenants

home renovation

painting during home renovation

Are you planning to renovate your home but don’t know where to begin? Home renovations can be a daunting task, but with proper planning and execution, it can be an exciting adventure that adds value and comfort to your home. In this article, Red Horse Home Inspection will discuss the basics of home renovations.

Renovations: Positives and Negatives

Before diving into any home renovation project, it’s important to consider the pros and cons. On the one hand, home renovations can increase the value of your property, enhance the functionality of your home, and allow you to customize it to your preferences. On the other hand, home renovations can be time-consuming, expensive, and disruptive to your daily routine. It’s essential to weigh these factors carefully before deciding to proceed with a renovation project.

Obtaining Legal Permits

Renovations are subject to various laws and regulations, which vary depending on your location and the type of renovation you’re planning. To avoid legal issues, it’s crucial to research and attain any necessary permits before commencing any work. This includes building permits, zoning permits, and environmental permits. By getting the necessary permits in advance, you can ensure that your renovation project complies with all applicable laws and regulations.

Benefits of Going Paperless

When dealing with renovation projects that involve a lot of paperwork, it’s essential to keep track of everything. One way to do this is by converting all renovation documents into PDFs and storing them in a dedicated folder. And if your goal is to combine PDF files to keep everything in one place, there are numerous tools available online that can help simplify the process.

Home Improvement Loans

Home renovations can be costly, and you may need additional funding to supplement your budget. One option is to apply for a home improvement loan, which can provide you with the necessary funds to complete your renovation project. Home improvement loans typically have lower interest rates than other forms of credit, making them an attractive financing option for homeowners.

Apps to Use

Frontdoor – the app connecting you to experts for your home renovation projects – is crucial in most renovations. These projects can be complex, and it’s often necessary to hire professionals like architects, contractors, and interior designers to assist you. With Frontdoor, you can easily connect with local service providers, read customer reviews, and find the right professional for your specific renovation needs.

Defining Your Targets 

Communication is essential in any home renovation project. To ensure that everyone is on the same page, it’s crucial to clearly define your desired outcome. This includes outlining your goals, preferences, and budget constraints. By doing so, you can avoid confusion and misunderstandings and ensure that everyone is working towards a common goal.

Having a Reserve 

Home renovations can be unpredictable, and unexpected expenses can arise at any time. To prepare for this, it’s advisable to keep a contingency fund that can cover unforeseen expenses. This should be a separate fund from your renovation budget and should be reserved for emergencies only. A good rule of thumb is to set aside around 10% of your renovation budget for contingencies.

Home renovations can be a rewarding experience that adds value and comfort to your home. However, it’s crucial to approach them with careful planning and execution. By converting all renovation documents into PDFs, applying for a home improvement loan, using a home maintenance and repair app, and more, you can ensure that your renovation project is successful and stress-free.


happy african american woman reading home inspection report in rapid cityDo you feel like the mortgage industry has a language all its own? You’re not alone. Surveys show that many consumers get frustrated with all of the unfamiliar terms, acronyms and phrases that are part of the mortgage application process. Here are some of the most common (and confusing!) mortgage-related terms, explained:


FHA is short for the Federal Housing Administration, an agency that is a popular source of low-down-payment home loans. VA is short for Veterans Affairs, an agency that has a popular home buying program for military personnel and veterans. The USDA — the U.S. Department of Agriculture — also has a low-down-payment home loan buying program. These agencies aren’t actually providing loans to home buyers with minimal or no down payments; they are providing guarantees to encourage private lenders to do so. Ever heard the term ‘conventional’ loan? That’s simply a loan made without a government incentive.


If you’re shopping for a home, you’ll want to be pre-approved for a mortgage loan before making an offer. Pre-approval demonstrates to a home seller that you may take out a loan up to a certain amount based on your income, credit score and debt load. Pre-qualification is a much more cursory check by a lender and doesn’t mean you’ll actually get approved for a home loan.


This acronym is short for principal, interest, taxes and insurance. These four things combined will make up all or most of your monthly housing payment.

Closing costs.

These are costs associated with the transfer of a property from one owner to another. Closing costs do not include the purchase price of the property but do include the cost of an appraisal, the buyer’s credit report fee, the cost of a title search, title insurance, recording and processing fees and other fees. Buyers and sellers typically each pay a portion of the overall closing costs. Sellers, for example, customarily pay the commissions of the real estate agents involved in the sale. Closing costs also are called ‘settlement’ costs.

Loan estimate (formerly the Good Faith Estimate).

This is a federally-mandated form that provides you with basic information about the terms of a mortgage loan for which you have applied and estimated costs in acquiring the loan.

Closing Disclosure (formerly the Truth in Lending statement).

This form details all costs associated with making and closing a home loan. You’ll find your loan’s APR, or annual percentage rate, here. Is your APR higher than the rate quoted by your mortgage company? It’s okay. It’s typically higher because the APR takes into account not only the mortgage rate, but other costs associated with the loan you’re responsible for, such as origination fees and discount points.

Origination fee.

This is a fee paid to a lender for processing your home loan. It’s typically paid in the form of up to 1 percent of your total loan amount. Don’t confuse this fee with discount points. Each discount point, equal to 1 percent of the total loan amount, can be paid to lower your interest rate. The more points you pay, the lower your interest rate.

Amortization Schedule.

This handy document shows how much principal and interest is applied to each payment and illustrates the payoff process over the life of your loan.

If you are buying a home in Rapid City or the Black Hills give us a call or schedule your home inspection online.

Take a look at a sample report or read our latest reviews.

Beautiful Custom Kitchen Design Drawing and Gradated Photo Combination.New car smell is divine, but the smell of a newly-built home might be even better. Pristine carpets, freshly painted walls, the scent of freshly-cut lumber lingering in the air — it’s hard to beat the excitement of taking ownership of a brand new property.

Everything looks great, and you have been involved in the construction process every step of the way. Why, then, would you need a home inspection? There are several reasons.

The biggest one: New doesn’t mean perfect. Building a home is a massive undertaking much like fitting together a big jigsaw puzzle. It involves many different types of subcontractors, from plumbers and roofers to HVAC technicians and electricians. Mistakes can happen in any of these areas. And while builders and municipalities have their own inspections, it’s not unusual for issues to go unnoticed. And city inspectors are looking only to see if a home meets code — minimum building standards set by the city in which the home is being built. That’s not the same as a thorough inspection. And even the best builders can miss problems.

Ideally, you’ll have your home inspected twice — once before the walls are closed and again, after the home is complete. An inspection before the walls are closed is a great opportunity to see portions of the home that aren’t normally visible or accessible. Both inspections should be performed before you take possession of the home, so that the builder can address them prior to you moving in.

Some defects are more serious than others, of course. Foundation cracks and improper grading of the property, for example, can lead to costly problems down the line. Electrical problems can pose a serious safety threat. Plumbing problems can be a serious headache as well, and absolutely no one wants to find out their air HVAC system has issues when the time comes to cool or heat your home.

Whether you’re purchasing a new or existing home, an inspection is an important step in the home buying process. To learn more about having a property inspected, give us a call at 1-605-490-2916.  Easily schedule your home inspection online.  Check out a sample home inspection report and see our latest reviews.

Couple Celebrating Moving Into New Home in rapid city after a home inspectionYour down payment is in the bank and you’re pre-approved for a mortgage. You’re all ready to start looking at homes. Here are some tips for home buying the smart way:

Don’t go it alone

Some tech-savvy buyers like to use the Internet and mobile apps to search for homes. That’s great — the Internet is a great tool for finding homes you want to look at in person. But there is no substitute to also having someone by your side who can help you navigate the home buying process. Buying a home could be the biggest purchase you ever make, and consulting an expert can make all the difference. That’s why even though most home buyers today use the Internet at some point in the home buying process, nearly 90% of all home buyers work with a real estate agent. Your real estate agent can help guide you through the home search, help you make an offer, assist you with negotiating with the seller and other parts of the home-buying process.

Don’t be swayed by staging

You found a home that looks like it could be featured in a magazine. But don’t be swayed by expensive furniture and decor. Pay close attention to the basics — the condition of the roof, the heating and cooling system, and plumbing — anything that would be costly to upgrade or repair. Those are the things that really matter and could be hard on your finances if they aren’t in good condition.

Never skip a home inspection

Many home buyers who skip home inspections regret it later. Don’t be rushed into purchasing a home. Take your time so that you can truly find the home that’s right for you and your family and have it inspected by a knowledgeable, reputable and independent third party. (That’s us!)

Want to learn more about the importance of a home inspection? Give us a call! 1-605-490-2916.  Schedule your home inspection online.  Follow  us on facebook and instagram.


Image via Pexels

One of the most popular activities for people during the pandemic has been refreshing their homes. When you’re stuck inside with nowhere to go, it only makes sense. During the beginning of the pandemic, getting the supplies you needed for renovations was difficult. We’ve finally hit a point where most things are back in stock, and at a reasonable place. With new COVID variants coming out frequently, there’s still reason to start renovating your home. If you’re considering renovations, here are some tips on how to get things done efficiently and effectively, brought to you by Red Horse Home Inspection.

Plan Your Renovations Around Creating a Healthier Space

As we’re spending more and more time indoors, it’s important that you make your home into a healthier space. Many home renovations have included converting spaces into fitness areas, allowing people to stay home to work out.

Another health-conscious decision you can make is creating a dedicated home workspace. By doing so, you can help to separate work life from home life, creating a healthier balance when you’re forced to work from home. The distinction between the two spaces is significant.

Know What Jobs You Can Do, and What Jobs Need a Professional

It’s important not to dive into the deep end when you’re doing home renovations. Many jobs are able to be done on a DIY basis, but some are going to require the assistance of professionals. Let’s take a look at both categories.

Some DIY Home Renovations

There are a ton of DIY home renovations that just about any homeowner can do. Some of the most popular include:

  • Painting. Painting both inside and outside surfaces can be done by anyone. Just make sure that you thoroughly prep the surfaces. This helps the paint stick.
  • Refresh cabinets. Replacing cabinets is a big job that requires a professional touch. If you like your cabinets, but want to update them a bit, replace hinges and knobs. This updates their look without doing a full replacement.
  • Update your ceilings. By adding simple tongue-and-groove boards to your ceilings, you can change the look of any room, and make them visually intriguing.

Jobs That Need a Professional Touch

Some jobs just aren’t suitable for a DIY approach. These common jobs should be left to the professionals:

  • Replacing bathroom fixtures. Any job that requires modifying the plumbing should be left to, you guess it, a plumber.
  • Changing light fixtures. Similar to plumbing jobs, electrical jobs should be left to electricians.
  • Structural updates. Everyone loves an open floor plan. You can’t just go knocking down walls, though. Professionals need to make sure that walls aren’t load-bearing, something that most homeowners aren’t experienced enough to do.

Financing Your Renovations

When you’re making significant updates to your home, you’re probably going to have to dip into your savings. If that’s not an option, you may be able to refinance your home to free up some cash. A cash-out refi replaces your existing mortgage with a new loan for a larger amount. The difference between the loan amounts are what you, the borrower, receives to renovate your home with.

Update Your Space

Updating your home is going to add value to it, of course. However, you should also remember that it’s going to enrich your life. We’re spending a lot of time in our homes, thanks to the pandemic. Renovations can help you enjoy yours again!




by Nick Gromicko, CMI® and Kenton Shepard

Kickout flashing, also known as diverter flashing, is a special type of flashing that diverts rainwater away from the cladding and into the gutter. When installed properly, they provide excellent protection against the penetration of water into the building envelope.  proper kickout flashing from home inspection in sturgis sd
Several factors can lead to rainwater intrusion, but a missing kickout flashing, in particular, often results in concentrated areas of water accumulation and potentially severe damage to exterior walls. InterNACHI inspectors should make sure that kickouts are present where they are needed and that they are installed correctly. Water penetration into the cladding can occasionally be observed on the exterior wall in the form of vertical water stains, although inspectors should not rely on visual identification. There may be severe damage with little or no visible evidence.
Inspectors may observe the following problems associated with kickout flashing:
The kickout was never installed.
  • The need for kickout flashing developed fairly recently and the builder may not have been aware that one was required. The increased amount of insulation and building wrap that is used in modern construction makes buildings less breathable and more likely to sustain water damage. Kickout flashing prevents rainwater from being absorbed into the wall and is more essential than ever.
The following are locations where kickout flashing is critical:
  • anywhere a roof and exterior wall intersect, where the wall continues past the lower roof-edge and gutter. If a kickout flashing is absent in this location, large amounts of water may miss the gutter, penetrate the siding, and become trapped inside the wall; and
  • where gutters terminate at the side of a chimney.

The kickout was improperly installed.missing kickout flashing from home inspection in sturgis sd

  • The bottom seam of the flashing must be watertight. If it is not, water will leak through the seam and may penetrate the cladding.
  • The angle of the diverter should never be less than 110 degrees.

The kick-out was modified by the homeowner.

  • Homeowners who do not understand the importance of kickouts may choose to alter them because they are unsightly. A common way this is done is to shorten their height to less than the standard six inches (although some manufacturers permit four inches), which will greatly reduce their effectiveness. Kickout flashings should be the same height as the side wall flashings.
  • Homeowners may also make kickout flashings less conspicuous by cutting them flush with the wall.In summary, kickout flashing should be present and properly installed in order to direct rainwater away from the cladding.  This article if from InterNACHI and can be found at https://www.nachi.org/kick-out-flashing.htm.

Schedule your home inspection with Red Horse Home Inspection LLC of the Black Hills.  Follow us on Facebook to see the latest blogs.