Tip #217: No Thanks for the Memories…
A smelly unit is not going to command top rent, and may sit vacant – at least until it airs out.
While there are lots of products on the market which claim to rid a household of cigarette smoke, savvy landlords employ some very cost-effective solutions:
First, be sure and clean any carpets and draperies in the unit. Stale smoke loves to linger in fabrics. But that is unlikely to solve the problem entirely, since the smoke will permeate every porous surface.
Perhaps the best (and least expensive) way is to purchase a gallon of white vinegar. Mix the vinegar in a 50% solution of tap water, and wipe over the walls in your unit.
After you’re done with this task, purchase a package of Styrofoam bowls and fill the bowls half full of full concentrate white vinegar.
Set the bowls around your rental, especially in rooms where there is a concentration of porous surfaces.
If the smell still lingers after a few days, refill the bowls and start again.
See last week’s Landlord Quick Tip.
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And the bane of any maintenance person’s existence is running around trying to find the right tool for the job. Keeping those tools handy and in one predictable place where they can be grabbed in a moment’s notice makes Dad a happy man.
Experienced handymen swear by a wonderful invention called the “Bucket Jockey”. A Bucket Jockey is simply a heavy duty sleeve that slips over a 5 gallon bucket, with pockets and pouches that will hold an amazing amount of tools. You can grab one at Home Depot for ten bucks — along with a bucket.
Once you have your Bucket Jockey, you’ll want to fill it with the most commonly used tools for typical maintenance projects. With these in tow, Dad will through the vast majority of repairs.
Here’s a list of tools that you should stock it with: Read the rest of this entry »
Few Cash-Out Equity When Refinancing, More Shorten Term
This week Freddie Mac released the results of its first quarter 2013 quarterly refinance analysis showing that borrowers continue to strengthen their fiscal house by taking advantage of near record low mortgage rates to lower their monthly payments, shortening their loan terms, and overwhelmingly choosing the safety of long-term fixed-rate mortgages.
However, the refinance boom that has occurred over the past three years has peaked as the market begins shifting toward more purchase activity.
Borrowers who refinanced in the first quarter of 2013 will save on net approximately $7 billion in interest over the next 12 months.
Additionally, the net dollars of home equity converted to cash as part of a refinance, adjusted for consumer-price inflation, remained at a low volume. In the first quarter, an estimated $8.1 billion in net home equity was cashed out during the refinance of conventional prime-credit home mortgages, about the same as the previous quarter and substantially less than during the peak cash-out refinance volume of $84 billion during the second quarter of 2006. Read the rest of this entry »
College graduates from across the country have more in common than that shiny new diploma and the class of ’13 distinction. No matter where they received their degree, they all face the same life-changing decision: where to work and where to live.
While the national unemployment rate is moving down, competition for jobs is still stiff, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics citing 11.7 million unemployed persons (April 2013) and a mere 3.8 million available jobs (March 2013). With apartment rents increasing each year and the continuing challenges of a slower economy, it is becoming more important for recent grads to explore the possibility of starting their professional lives in a city that offers the best overall opportunity for employment, career success, living affordability and an energetic, youthful culture.
For the sixth year, Apartments.com has complied the “Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates” to help make this big decision a little easier.
“When starting the search process, it can be tempting to focus on just the biggest cities,” said Tammy Kotula, public relations and promotions manager for Apartments.com. “In fact, many other ‘best of’ lists tend to be heavily weighted toward the country’s largest markets, which obviously offer a lot of career opportunities. However, it is important to carefully consider all aspects that a city, even a smaller market, has to offer before deciding where to settle down.” Read the rest of this entry »
According to a report, the group, which includes minority residents along with landlords, filed a lawsuit in federal court that claims the $200-plus per person trash pick-up fee is discriminatory.
Carl Finger, the lawyer representing the group, told reporters that the nearly 400% increase in fees is not based on a corresponding increase in the cost of trash pickup, but rather it’s a revenue-generator for the city. Read the rest of this entry »
If it happens to you, time is of the essence, and it’s important to have a well-conceived plan already laid out.
Adopt policies that make it easy to pay rent on time, and difficult to pay late. For example, accepting electronic payments, credit cards, or direct deposit make it easy to pay on time. Read the rest of this entry »
Study finds decline in blatant discrimination while unequal treatment persists
Blatant acts of housing discrimination faced by minority homeseekers continue to decline in the U.S., yet more subtle forms of housing denial stubbornly persist, according to a new summary study released this week by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Urban Institute.
Housing Discrimination Against Racial and Ethnic Minorities 2012 finds African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians learn about fewer housing options than equally qualified whites.
Real estate agents and rental housing providers recommend and show fewer available homes and apartments to minority families, thereby increasing their costs and restricting their housing options. The study concludes this is a national, not a regional, phenomenon.
“Fewer minorities today may be getting the door slammed in their faces, but we continue to see evidence of housing discrimination that can limit a family’s housing, economic and educational opportunities,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “It’s clear we still have work to do to end housing discrimination once and for all.” Read the rest of this entry »
Here are five potential problems that could hamper your efforts to protect your hard-earned profits:
1. Lease agreements should be easy to distinguish from the pile of leasing forms and disclosures. Make sure it is clear where the lease document begins, what attachments it includes, and where it ends. That way, it is easy to prove what the tenant agreed to when they signed.
2. Any subsequent amendments or renewals should be attached to the original lease, or a copy of the original lease, for easy reference. Otherwise, it’s surprisingly easy to lose track of the current terms. Read the rest of this entry »
Highlighting the economic strength of the apartment industry in front of Congress, Tom Bozzuto, Chairman and CEO of the Bozzuto Group, represented the National Multi Housing Council (NMHC) and the National Apartment Association (NAA) before a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee last week.
“The apartment industry is a competitive and robust $1.1 trillion industry that helps 35 million renters live in a home that’s right for them. In an environmentally sound way, we help build vibrant communities by offering housing choice, supporting local small businesses, creating millions of jobs and contributing to the fabric of communities across the country,” said Bozzuto, who is also chairman of NMHC. Read the rest of this entry »
Tip # 216: Do No Harm
Your problem tenant is finally gone, but they’ve left behind a mess. You spend the weekend hauling trash, fixing walls, cleaning and repainting. Frustrated, you transfer the funds from their security deposit to pay for all of the out-of-pocket losses, and try to forget it all happened.
While you may be entitled to claim those security deposit funds, you still have to follow the rules for deductions, even if the tenant was irresponsible. Otherwise, this story could end with you actually owing money to the deadbeat tenant! Read the rest of this entry »
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