Buying Small, Living Large: 4 Big Pros to Buying a Smaller House or CondoAre you on the hunt for a more efficient living space? Whether you're a first-time buyer or downsizing from a larger home, buying small can still mean living big. Let's explore four positives to living in a smaller, more intimate house or condo.

You're Going To Save Money

The first, most obvious and most exciting reason is that you're going to save money. The home itself will cost less than a larger one, especially if there is less land or property included. Even better: the money you save on space can be re-invested in quality. Losing a bedroom or two but having brand-new appliances? It might be a fair trade.

It's Much Easier To Customize

Are you excited to renovate and customize your home to suit your family's tastes? A smaller space is going to be far easier to make changes to. And while you may think that this limits your options, that's not the case. As long as you buy with renovations in mind, you'll be all set.

Bear in mind that some upgrades won't work with a smaller home. For example, you may not be able to add that large deck or patio you've always wanted. Before you buy a small home, make sure it suits your future vision.

Living Small Is More Energy Efficient

Yes, it's true: living smaller means using less energy. Much of the energy we use in our homes is for heating and/or cooling our living space. The smaller the home, the less energy needed for either. Depending on where you live, that difference can mean a lot of energy -- and money -- saved.

Cleaning Is A Lot Less Of A Chore

The smaller the space, the less of it there is to clean. It's as simple as that. Even if the difference in cleaning time is as short as an hour each week, it adds up. Over ten years, that small one-hour difference becomes a total of more than three weeks! So if you'd rather not spend extra weeks or months cleaning your home, a smaller space is a big plus.

If you want to leave a smaller footprint, a great place to start is with a smaller new home. Contact your real estate agent today to learn more about small houses and condos in your local area.

Real Estate Investing: How to Find -- and Hang on to -- Great Rental TenantsIt's great news if you have enough financial capital that you have the option of investing in a rental property, but being able to afford it is only half the battle. Since you'll need to find and keep the right renters in order to make a profit, here are some ways that you can ensure your property will be a financial benefit.

Price It Right

It's important to turn a profit, but overpricing your property may mean that you'll have limited options. Instead of making it a guessing game, take a look at the rent in the neighborhood and read through the listings to determine a potential price. This will enable you to find the ideal tenant who knows your apartment is worth what you're charging without pricing yourself out of the market.

Keep It Clean

A lived-in home can be quite time consuming to show well, but it's very important to clean up before potential renters see it. While a spick-and-span space that is clutter free will give viewers the sense that you're a responsible landlord, a disorganized area full of stuff will probably lead them to look elsewhere.

Go With Your Gut

It may be one thing for a potential tenant to have good references and ample income, but it's important to think about more than what a person looks like on paper when choosing a tenant. Instead of going for the sure bet, choose a tenant that you feel you can trust as they might just be the least likely to let you down.

Deal With The Details

There are numerous stories about bad landlords, but it's important to attend to the needs of your tenants so that you can avoid a high turnover rate. While the wrong tenant can be difficult to deal with, the right tenant will be someone that will behave responsibly and will expect the same from you. This means you'll have to fix minor repairs and replace leaking faucets in a timely manner, and you'll be able to expect the same courtesy when it comes to paying on time.

Having a rental property can be a very beneficial investment, but it's important to be a good landlord and set the right rental price so that you can retain good tenants. If you're currently searching for an investment property, contact your local real estate professional for more information.