Should You Keep on Renting Or Should You Consider Buying?

Keys and handsYour lease is almost up and you’re now thinking it is time to stop renting and start buying. But, are you really ready to become a homeowner? A lot of renters are shocked at the responsibility and differences of home owning compared to renting. So, before you give up on your lease and start calling in real estate agents, see if you meet any of the signs that it is a good time to keep on renting.

You Don’t Have a Savings Account

You might have a savings account open, but is there any money in there? Before owning a home, you need ample savings to cover furnishings, a down payment and of course any repairs that show up down the road. Also, a good savings is a sign of financial responsibility — something a person needs if they are going to own a home. Experts recommend having three months’ worth of bills saved up as well as your 20 percent down payment before you stop renting.

Your Future Isn’t Spelled Out

You don’t know where you will be five years or even one year from now, so you shouldn’t be buying a home. Unless your future is already planned out, you need the flexibility of renting. Homeownership means staying in one location for at least seven to ten years. If you cannot for sure say you’re staying with your job, partner or in the area that long, stick with renting until you can.

You Have Not Done Your Homework

Buying a home is a big deal. If you have not researched the market or even stopped to see if you can get approved for a loan, you might want to reconsider giving up on renting. Do you have a good credit score that will even qualify for a loan? Do you know what the market is like in the area? If not, do some research first before deciding you’re ready to buy.

You Aren’t Responsible

A lot of people chose to rent because they know that they are not responsible enough to own a home. Yes, you pay your bills on time, you have a job, etc., but there is a lot more to owning a home than that. When you own a home, you have an investment that you must maintain. You’re in charge of the repairs, keeping the exterior and interior up-to-date, and carrying all the right insurance. For most renters, the price increase alone is hard to handle.

Jun 2014

Are You Ready to Be a Landlord?

Real estate market - young Indonesian couple looking for real esThere are a lot of people who are ready to rent out their properties and make a living off what they already own, but before you sign up to be a property owner, you might want to think about what it really entails. Unfortunately, there is a lot of responsibility you have to take on just to rent out a property — even if you’re just renting out a basement. So, before you start making rental ads, make sure you’re ready to handle it all.

Do You Know the Rental Rates?

Rental rates will determine how much you can rent your property for. If you don’t have a market value that appeals to renters, you will have a property that sits vacant for some time. That means you need to be willing to keep up to date with the latest market research.

Are You Going to Get Help?

If you have a family and a full-time job already, you won’t have time to manage a property too. So, that means you need to find a property manager that can help collect rent, deal with tenants, etc. You will have to pay these companies a fee, which means you’ll need to research and meet with multiple companies to find which one suits your budget and needs.

Do You Know the Landlord Tenant Laws for Your State?

Every state has their own laws regarding the property owner and tenant relationship. IF you don’t know them, you could find yourself fined or worse, sued in court. Make sure you look up the laws regarding your state from your local housing authority. These laws dictate how you treat your renters, the rental contracts you can offer them, etc.

What Will You Do If the Renter Doesn’t Pay?

Don’t just assume every tenant you ever have will always pay their rent. While things happen, you have to be prepared for when a tenant leaves or skips out on the bill. How will you manage unpaid rent? Can you afford the property even if you are out of rental money?

How Will You Handle Maintenance?

It is your responsibility as the property owner to maintain the property and keep it safe. If you are not the DIY type, then you will need to figure out how you can keep your properties in working order. That might be something your management company can do for you or you may have to hire another company to do routine maintenance, inspections and repairs.

Jun 2014

Moving in the Summer? Tips to Get You Started

Family moving home and carrying cardboard boxesSummers is a popular month for moving. After all, the weather is warm, kids are out of school and you have friends and family less resistant to the idea of waking up early to help you move your stuff. But, even if you have the best temperatures and a lot of help, moving your house in the summer is a big ordeal. So, to help make it a little easier, here are a few tips for pulling off a great summer move.


Moving in the summer also means moving in the heat. It is important that you and everyone helping you stays hydrated during the process. Buy a package of water bottles and put them in an ice chest. Make sure everyone takes one and keeps drinking throughout the day. Being hydrated not only keeps you safe, but it will actually give you the energy you need to complete the move.

Dress Right

Summer moves mean you need to wear comfortable clothing that can help in the heat. Avoid wearing sandals and still wear comfortable, sturdy shoes. You can wear short sleeves and shorts, but if you’re exposing your skin, make sure to also slather on the sunscreen. There is nothing worse than moving and ending up with a bad sunburn.

Turn on the Air Conditioning

While it might mean you pay more in electricity, crank up the air conditioning in your current place as well as the new place. That way while everyone is moving in and out they at least get a little cool air in the process. Also, keeping your apartments cool will keep them from getting muggy or humid, which can make it unbearable.

Try for the Middle of the Month

Most people move in the summer, which means the beginning and end of summer months are when rental trucks and boxes will be hard to find. If you move mid-month, you are more likely to get a rental truck and all of the supplies (and maybe even friends to help) you need to move.

Don’t Pack Perishables

Your boxes are likely to sit in the heat for a few hours. So don’t pack perishable food in boxes. Instead, keep food separate and make sure every box is labeled so that people know what needs to get into the new apartment first and what can sit on the truck for a few hours while you unload.

Jun 2014

Should You Rent a Duplex?

Young adults moving in new homeWhether you have rented before or this is your first time finding a rental property, deciding the type of property to rent can be just as daunting as finding the right one to move into. You have options, such as condominiums, townhomes, duplexes, etc. But, a lot of renters aren’t sure which the right one for them is. Some people feel that apartment complexes aren’t private enough or don’t give them as much freedom, which opens the door to duplexes. But, before you decide that you want to rent a duplex, you may want to consider if it is the right move for you.

Pro: You Get More Privacy

Yes, with a duplex you have a lot more privacy than an apartment. That is because you usually only share one wall, you aren’t living on top of one another and you may even have a yard. So you won’t feel as though you are sharing every ounce of your living space with someone else.

Pro: You Have Outdoor Room Too

Duplexes typically have a front yard or even a back yard. So this means you have more community space to get outside and you might even be able to have room for the kids to go play. But, you might also be in charge of maintaining that yard — double check with your property owner if you’re not the type to do lawn care.

Pro: You Don’t Share Community Areas

When you rent a duplex, you’re not sharing community items. You will probably have your own laundry room inside the duplex as well, which means you don’t have to worry about doing your laundry with 20 or more other apartment dwellers.

Con: On-Site Maintenance Crews are Gone

When you rent in an apartment complex there is usually an on-site maintenance crew. That means if something breaks, you have someone there who can fix it for you right away. But, if you rent a duplex, you could have to wait for the landlord to dispatch help — and it might mean a day or two depending on the issue.

Con: It Costs More

Duplexes cost more, mostly because they are private. So if you are on a tight budget, you might want to consider an apartment rather than a duplex. Also, you will pay more in utilities and rental insurance compared to an apartment. You’ll have more space to heat and cool, more water (especially if you are paying to water the lawn), etc.

Jun 2014

Tips for Getting the Apartment You Want in a Fast Market

Keys and handsThe rental market is booming. If you have been searching for a new place, you know that apartments come and go. And, the best apartments are the hardest to snag. There’s nothing worse than finding the apartment that works great for you only to realize that it is taken just a few minutes later. But, apartment hunting doesn’t have to be a rushed game. You can still find the apartment you want without feeling like you are pressured by time in the process.

Use Multiple Search Methods

IF you are only searching for apartments online, then you are missing out. Yes, online researches are the most accurate, but you still should be calling the apartment complex to follow up on if the units are still available. Get in touch with the property manager, schedule an appointment and use all of your resources. If you just assume that an online listing means the apartment is still available, you could miss out.

Wait Until You’re Ready to Move

A lot of people start hunting for their next apartment too early. They can’t move for a few months or just a few weeks, and apartment manager are not going to hold an apartment for that long. Only start hunting for apartments when you’re actually ready to move. Sure, give yourself a week or two to find something new, but don’t bother looking too early — because what you see this month is likely to be rented and gone by next month.

Be Prepared and Ready to Rent Now

When you show up to see an apartment, already have your application, reference, pay stubs and even your security deposit ready to go. That way if you like the apartment you see you can apply for it now. Apartment managers wont’ hold an apartment while you get your paperwork or funds together — and if someone were to see the apartment minutes after you leave and sign up for it, then you’re out of luck.

Don’t Negotiate

When the rental market is moving fast, you can’t waste time negotiating with the property owner on price. But, if an apartment has been vacant for a while, the property owner may be more willing to work with you. In a fast paced market, avoid any exceptions or asking for any special treatment, because there is likely a renter out there that won’t give the property owner as much hassle — and that means you’ll miss out on an apartment because you were trying to haggle.

Jun 2014