The Pros to Renting

Businesswoman With House Model And KeysMany people look at renting as an unnecessary expense or assume they won’t save by renting. But, you would be surprised at how many financial benefits there are for renting. From the flexibility of the lifestyle to monetary savings, here are the top financial pros to renting.

Rent is Consistent

Your rental payment is something you add to your budget every month. While your rent might go up when you renew your lease, the rent usually sticks with the standard cost of living for the area. With homeownership, on the other hand, you have other expenses such as maintenance or repairs on your home that create an inconsistent monthly budget.

You Get Amenities

Apartment complexes often come with amenities that would cost quite a bit to add to your home or buy a home with them. For example, most apartments have a community center (that you can rent for parties too), a pool and even a gym. All of these things are included with your monthly rent, which means you aren’t paying any extra to enjoy them each month — while you would have to pay extra to enjoy these things if you lived in a house.

You Don’t Have to Worry About the Housing Market

The housing market is constantly changing. One minute a home’s value is up, the other minute it is back down. When you rent, you don’t have to worry about how the housing market is doing. Also, if you change jobs, go to a new school or have a new addition to your family you can upgrade the size of your apartment or townhome without having to worry about selling and dealing with real estate agents in the process.

Credit Scores Aren’t As Big of a Deal

While your credit score could affect you getting an apartment, those credit requirements are nowhere near as stingy as credit requirements for a home loan. So, if you have a little debt, it’s unlikely you’ll be denied your apartment — but you could be denied a home loan for a small load of debt.

Next time you find yourself thinking renting is the more expensive option, think again. You might be surprised at how much you would save renting an apartment versus buying your own home or condominium. Sure, you don’t own it, but that is also a financial benefit — because you don’t have to do all of the responsibilities that come along with owning a property.

May 2014

Five Ways to Turn Away Potential Renters

Apartment Lease SignYou might have an attractive advertisement, but if you aren’t doing all that you can to keep interested renters at your property long enough to sign a contract, your vacancy rate could remain high. There are some things about apartments that turn away potential renters for good. So, if you’re looking to fill those vacancies, make sure your apartment complex isn’t committing one of these five turn offs.

Bad Smells

Any type of bad odor will turn someone away from a property. Things like pet urine or feces, backed up sewage, cigarette smoke and other odd odors are a few things to look out for. If you are noticing foul odors in your apartments or in the community center, hire a company to do a thorough cleaning — possibly steam clean the carpets, rugs and walls too — to get rid of it before showing it to potential renters. Nothing leaves a more positive impression than clean smells.

Having Carpeted Bathrooms

Carpeting in the bathrooms went out in the 80s. If you see carpet in the bathroom, you think of everything that carpet can absorb — including fungus, mold, etc. Do your renters a favor by removing carpet. It will not only make units more appealing, but also reduce the likelihood you have to hire mold abatement services in the future.

Appliances That Don’t Work

People rent so that they don’t have to buy appliances or worry about repairing them — that’s the property manager’s job. But, if you have a unit with broken appliances or appliances missing, it’s unlikely a potential renter will take the apartment. Broken appliances tell renters that you don’t take care of your units or your renters’ needs.

Gross or Dirty Carpets

It’s likely your apartment units will have carpeting. Potential renters won’t care why the carpets are dirty, but if they are dirty, it tells them that you don’t’ regularly clean or require renters to care for their carpets. Have carpets regularly cleaned, especially in leasing offices and new units. If the carpets cannot be cleaned thoroughly, then replace them.

Inadequate Storage

Apartments don’t always have adequate storage. While there are some things you cannot fix, you can add extra storage for your renters through storage units. This can be included in the rent — which is more appealing to renters than having two rental payments. If you can, modify the interior of units to maximize space — especially if the units come with a small square footage.

May 2014
POSTED IN Market Tips

Is a Month-to-Month Lease Right for You?

Young realtor explain lease agreement or purchase contract withIf you’re the type that likes to move a lot, a month-to-month lease could be the answer. But, before you sign the first month lease you find, you need to know your options. Month-to-month leases are less committal than traditional 12-month and 18-month leases, but they also come with their own strings that could prevent you from moving when you need to. So, it is best to weigh the pros and cons before signing anything.

Month-to-Month Leases are Flexible

The biggest reason people opt for a month-to-month lease is because they plan on moving soon — such as taking a temporary job or renting just until a home sale goes through. These allow you to have a place to live without any long-term commitments. Also, if for some reason you don’t need to move the next month, you can renew — giving you as much time as you need until you’re ready to relocate.

You’ll Pay More in Rent

Because you’re renewing your lease every month, some property management firms actually charge more for rent on their month-to-month contracts than their annual or longer contracts. This is because a monthly lease means they could have a vacancy soon, which is an expense for them. Also, because you’re renewing every month, the property management team has the opportunity to raise the rent according to market rates every time you renew — while with a yearly lease they can only raise the rent when your year is up.

Being in One Place Can Be Easier

Moving isn’t all that easy. When you stay in an apartment long-term you get to know your property managers, can get terms that are more flexible and you get used to the area. If you’re the type that doesn’t like change, you won’t enjoy a month-to-month contract — because your budget could change significantly depending on the rental market.

Be Wise With Month-to-Month

A month-to-month lease should really only be used if you need a short-term option. If you know you’re going to be relocating in just a few short months, sign a month-to-month, but if it’s up in the air, talk to the property owner about a quarterly lease or even a six-month lease versus the month-to-month. That way you have more stability with your rental payments and have a little time in between moves to figure out what you want to do or where you want to go.

May 2014
POSTED IN Legal Tips

Going on Vacation? Prepare Your Apartment Before You Pack

Couple packing for holiday, trying to close suitcase full with cSummer is here which means more people are going to be out of their apartments and enjoying some long, well-deserved vacations. You’re looking forward to your own, but before you start packing, you need to take care of your apartment. You shouldn’t have to worry about how things are back home while you’re sitting on the beach or exploring a new city. So take care of these things early so that you can enjoy the most of your vacation.

Notify the Property Manager

Never go away for an extended period of time without telling your property manager. They need to know if you’re not there in case of an emergency or if they need to enter your apartment while you’re away. Give them a number to where you will be staying too — that way they can contact you in an emergency.

What Will You Do With Your Car?

If you’re flying and leaving your car at the apartment, where will it be parked? Not all apartments have assigned parking, which means your car might have to sit on the street during your vacation. If you can, park it at a friend’s house or family member’s house with a driveway so you don’t have to worry about your vehicle.

Schedule Your Rent Payment

If rent is due while you’re away, schedule a bill pay so that it goes out. If you can, try paying it early that way you don’t have to worry about a late payment or missing a payment because you were too busy on your vacation.

Put a Hold on Your Mail

If you go on vacation, you can put a hold on your mail with the post office. This will prevent your mailbox from filling up with mail while you’re gone. Also, while you’re putting a hold, schedule the rest of your bills to be paid while you’re away too.

Turn Down the Thermostat

You won’t be there, so there’s no need to keep your apartment comfortable. Turn down the thermostat while you’re away so you can save some money. If it is going to be hot, keep the thermostat around 80 to 85 — that way you don’t come home to a stifling hot apartment.

Get Someone to Check On Things

While you’re away, have a friend or neighbor check on your apartment. They don’t have to go in, but just taking a look to make sure the door isn’t open or even checking on your car in its assigned stall can give you a little peace of mind.

May 2014

You Lost Your Roommate, Now What?

Shared ApartmentRoommate situations are almost always temporary. Someone gets a better job, finds a significant other, or there is a falling out. But, once a roommate does move out, you have a few decisions to make. This could be looked at as a good thing — a new opportunity. But, before you make any decisions, consider these questions.

Can You Handle the Rent Solo?

You had a roommate, but was the reason to pay the rent? If you can’t afford the rent on your own, you could downsize to a one-bedroom apartment or find another roommate. But, you’ll need to act fast, because that rent has to be paid. If your income situation has changed and you can afford it, use the opportunity to turn that spare room into an office, library or just a guest room for family and friends.

Where Will You Find a Replacement Roommate?

Finding a roommate isn’t easy. There are websites that bring roommates together, but you’ll be living with a stranger. Ask around work or even friends to see if anyone wants to fill the vacancy. Just remember they will have to not only pass your inspection, but the inspection from your property manager — that includes income and credit checks.

Is Your Lease Up?

If your lease is up, then you could just move to a smaller apartment and save yourself the hassle of a roommate. These days more people are opting to live alone that try the roommate situation — can you blame them? With the lease up, you have the opportunity to find something even better that suits your budget and needs. Sit down and decide what you’re looking for in a new place — including amenities in the community. You might even luck out and find a two-bedroom for cheaper that you can still afford on your own.

What’s the Contract Situation?

If your roommate is leaving, what is the contract between you two? Moving out before the lease is up means your roommate is still responsible for their share of the rent — regardless if they move. Check your property contract or the contract between the two of you and make sure your roommate is fulfilling their obligations. While they have their reasons for moving out, it isn’t fair to leave you with the rent and the task of finding a new roommate mid-lease either. See what you can work out with your soon-to-be ex roommate regarding rent. Maybe they will be willing to forfeit their half of the security deposit or pay the rent until you can at least replace them.

May 2014