- 07/19/2014With summer well under way "Fire Danger" should be a topic on mind! Fire Danger is something none of us as renters want to think could ever happen to us, however National Fire Protection Association stated in a recent article estimates that the " U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 366,600 home structure fires per year during the five-year-period of 2007-2011."WOW!! So what can we do to prevent house fires??
Please make sure that your home as an adequate amount of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home. Those helpful detectors can save lives, so make sure they have working batteries as well!
Have your home inspected! Recruit, or even hire, someone experienced in home electrical wiring, plumbing (gas), heating, and air conditioning to ensure that it is thoroughly inspected.
Blow out candles or even better use flame-less candles! We all love the ambiance and smell of a yummy candle, but please, please, please don't forget to blow the candle out!!
Maintain your fire place! Request a chimney inspection once a year to make sure it is operating correctly!
Stay in the kitchen when cooking! This one might sound like a no brainer, but when cooking it can be easier that you think to get distracted and walk away from a heated burner! The phone might ring, a child may need your attention , or a neighbor may come to the door to borrow a cup of sugar. No matter what eliminate the "multitasking" while cooking at your stove!
Christmas time is a wonderful time of year, but with that comes extra care and caution! When choosing a Christmas Tree for your home make sure you give it a "daily dose of water goodness" so it won't dry out! Last but not least, please don't leave your Christmas tree lights on while away from your home! Save the beauty for when you are home to monitor the tree!
Get Renters Insurance!!!! All of these tips are great tips, but please if you take note of any of our tips write this one down and then follow thru so you can be protected too!! Renters insurance is a very low cost effective option. Please take a moment to put yourself in this scenario.... Imagine you have experienced a house fire, there is damage everywhere in the interior and exterior of your house, your carpet, walls, furniture, and overall house have the heavy scent of smoke, your belongings are damaged , and you don't have renter's insurance!!!! What a nightmare! A house fire is a horrible thing for anyone to have to go through, but with Renter's Insurance it can make the process much smoother!
We hope you all have a beautiful rest of your week and don't forget these helpful hints so you can help prevent house fires!
Are you getting ready to move? Would you like to get the most back from your security deposit? Here are some ideas to help with the cleaning process!
We highly recommend taking pictures when you take possession, but BEFORE you move your belongings in. A video is even better. Keep this safe until move out and turn it in with your keys.
Documentation is a beautiful thing!! Most Property Managers/Land lords will ask you to fill out a property condition report. DO IT!! Be thorough make note of anything and everything. Don't rush this part of the process. The more you note the better and please please please make a copy for yourself!
Call your property manager and request a copy of your inspection check-list. This will give you a very good idea as to what your home inspector will be looking for on your final walk thru. Use that check off list as your "cleaning to do list"!
Pay a professional to clean your home. Often tenants will budget a set amount of time to move and a set amount of time for cleaning. Unfortunately, moving always takes longer than expected and that cuts into cleaning time.
Get your carpets professionally cleaned! If you are renting a home with carpets we highly recommend getting the carpets cleaned at the very end of your moving process, so you will have the best results for your inspector. Professionals have experience getting out those hard to clean stains!! In the end the extra cash out at the beginning might be extra cash back from your deposit!
Landscaping, landscaping, landscaping! Make sure you lawn is freshly mowed and edged, the grass has been weeded, and you have picked up all of Fido's droppings:)
Change light bulbs, filters and batteries! Sometimes when we are moving we have so much on our plate that it is hard to remember this one. Make sure each fixture has a new light bulb, working batteries are installed in your smoke detectors and if you have a HVAC system change the filter in it!
Double check and Triple check these items! Windows, window sills, areas around the toilets, blinds, cabinets, and drawers. These are hard to reach or hard to see areas that most people forget to clean. Attention to detail on these areas will definitely be to your advantage!
Finally and most importantly, brace yourself this once may hurt a bit, but we are going to ask that you be realistic. Most move-outs require a little work and a few charges to the security deposit. Keep good records and give yourself plenty of time to take care of issues and you should get most if not all of your deposit back!
How much should I rent my home for? This question is one of the questions that is asked by almost every client, and honestly its not as easy as you might think. Several things effect what your home may rent for.
The number of bedrooms and bathrooms is a key factor when determining your magic number! There needs to be a balance of bedrooms and bathrooms as well. A family of seven most likely will need a home with 4-5 bedrooms and 2-3 bathrooms. A family of four would most likely be just fine with a three bedroom home and 1-2 bathrooms. The more bedrooms and bathrooms... the higher the rental price!
What are the special features in your home that catch someone's eyes at "first walk thru"??? Is there a wrap around porch? A cozy fireplace? A large master suite? Or the perfect backyard deck to host summer BBQ's? Features provide a home with the extra "wow" factor and can often help get you top dollar for your rental.
Location.... location.... location! Location is one, if not the most important pieces of pricing your rental. Is the home in a safe neighborhood? What are the schools rated in the area? Are the surrounding homes taken care of?
Get a professional opinion! A professional can offer you a comparison of other properties in the area based on similar attributes as your home. It can provide you with a basis on what you are looking at price wise.
Last but certainly not least, the most important thing when having a rental is that it is rented! The last thing you want is to have a rental that won't rent due to the price being set too high. Sometimes you may not get the price you are wanting, but take into consideration that a vacant house is also a "no profit" house!
Are you thinking of renting your home and your not sure how to go about it? So what do you do? You talk with friends and family and the perfect thing happens.... wait for it wait for it... someone you know wants to rent your house!! Perfect.......or not so much...
Before deciding whether or not to rent to friends or family, please ask yourself a couple of questions.
What happens if they don't pay the rent? Going to a friend and asking them for money that they owe you will forever change your relationship, from a friendship to a debtor and payee relationship.
Are you really okay with evicting your BFF's? The definition of the term "eviction" is " the removal of a tenant from rental property by the landlord". Believe me this process is not a glorious process instead, it is a very hard process and to make it that much more complicated imagine evicting the people you care about!
In a wonderful perfect world your family and friends would never be late on rent, never damage the property, or never ever allow their precious dog "Fido" to "mark" his territory all over your beautiful white carpet.... but what if it isn't a perfect situation??? Are you ready to not only charge for rent, but also charge late and property damage fees?
As you can see there are a lot of topics to consider when choosing who to rent to. Be mindful and weigh your options for the best outcome possible!
The extreme cold weather has now passed through Eugene and Medford and we are starting to thaw out a bit. We would like to take this opportunity to pass on what we have learned over the past week.
1. Western Oregon is not prepared and not built for -8F weather!! No matter what you do to prepare, issues are going to come up. From frozen pipes, to travel issues, to loss of heat.
2. That being said, prep as much as you can!! Unhooking hoses and covering pipes can save you time and money in the long run. It won't stop all issues but it's a simple and inexpensive way to keep you long term cost down.
3. Have a good relationship with your plumber and electrician!! On multiple occasions we were able to call after hours and get someone out to properties late at night to prevent any further damage, and keep our tenants with running water and heat. This makes for happy people all around.
In short, we live in a fairly mild climate and are not used to these type of weather conditions. This tends to lead to complacency when it comes to preparing for the worst. After this last week I'm sure there are people all over Eugene, Medford and Western Oregon wishing they had spent a little more time on prepping for this winter.
Renting College properties in the Willamette Valley used to be like shooting fish in a barrel. The need for housing well exceeded the supply and that was great for landlords. Fast forward a couple years and we find a different story. Fueled by out of state companies and mom and pop builders, the University has never seen such a building boom. Anywhere there was an open piece of land a new lavish apartment building went up. This brought jobs to the area and has been a great boost to the local economy....Until school started.
The new buildings with all their amenities and hefty price tags were ready and waiting for the rush of students to come snatch them up....waiting.....waiting.....Unfortunately someone didn't do the simple math. With an estimated 9000 new beds. (2000 new units with an average of 3 bedrooms) and lackluster growth in enrollment at the University, builders have created a glut of properties that has driven prices down nearly 50%. Properties that 3 years ago rented in minutes at $2800+ now sit vacant with a $1595 offering.
What do we do now? The short answer seems to be lower the prices and wait. If you have the capital jump on an opportunity to buy some great properties on the cheap as people flee the market. The housing will eventually even itself out with growth from the college and with prices dropping local families are moving back into the university area. That being said this will take some time as there are close to 1000 NEW units already approved for the next 12 months.
All land lords have heard this line, " Its cleaner and in better shape than when we moved in". While this may be true from time to time, from experience this almost always means that in fact we as Property Managers will have some work to do.
So the question is, "How do I get as much of my deposit back as possible?"
Let’s go through a few things that will help.
1. Don't move into a house with obvious cleaning and maintenance needs. If the house is not ready it’s not ready. Moving in to somewhere before its ready leaves questions at the end as to what was actually done at the time of move in.
2. Take dated pictures when you take possession BEFORE you move your belongings in. A video is even better. Keep this safe until move out and turn it in with your keys.
3. Most Property Managers/Land lords will ask you to fill out a property condition report. DO IT!! And turn in a copy. Again keep a copy for yourself.
4. Know your lease!! So many times issues come up with tenants that could have been solved if they had just read their lease. This should tell you expectations that you will be held to pertaining to your deposit.
5. Pay someone to clean. Often tenants will budget a set amount of time to move and a set amount of time for cleaning. What happens is moving always takes longer than expected and that cuts into cleaning time. Also you are tired after moving and after a couple hours of cleaning it "looks better than when we moved in".
In general be realistic. Most move-outs require a little work and a few charges to the security deposit. Keep good records and give yourself plenty of time to take care of issues and you should get most if not all of your deposit back.
When figuring the cost of owning a rental property it is important to include upkeep of the property as well as the obvious cost like mortgage and insurance etc. Just like your car needs an oil change every 3000 mile and needs new brakes now and then, your rental property will need some items as well. Time and time again property owners forget to include this cost when considering becoming landlords.
The national average for maintenance varies but you should expect to pay 10-15% of the rental income out in upkeep cost. This number could vary greatly depending on the current condition of the home, age of the home and many other factors.
Here are some items that come up most often in the Northwest and an idea of what the cost would be:
Yearly Gutter cleaning- $70-$130
Yearly Servicing of heating and AC- $120
Moss control on roofs- $50+
Maintenance to appliances- $70+ per service call
These are just examples of cost you should EXPECT as a rental owner. Also figure in long term expenses like painting, flooring, roofing etc. No matter how good your tenants are these items will eventually need replaced.
If money is tight and you’re having a hard time coming up with the funds for items like this, try setting a few dollars aside each month to help offset the cost.
If you have any further questions please visit www.northwoodspm.com
Storage: Many property owners want to leave items behind at their rentals, in sheds, attics and garages. Northwoods recommends the house be completely empty. For one you don't want the tenants to take on the liability of storing your belongings and second you should rent them the ENTIRE house. If you have extra items you don't want to bring to your new home get a storage unit. Now you wont have to post a notice to have access to your items and your tenants will have space to store their Christmas decorations. www.northwoodspm.com
We are asked almost every time we bring on a new property, "Should we allow pets?” The answer really differs from property to property and from owner to owner.
Statistic show that 50-60 percent of potential renters have pets. So, statistically, over half of your potential customers have a pet of some kind. While allowing pets does bring with it an inherent risk, there are benefits as well. Let’s look at both.
Risk: While you could break it down and find several 'risks" that come with pets the main concern for most property owners is damage. Even the most well behaved pet can cause damage to a property. "Accidents" happen and an animal that is not well behaved can chew or scratch their way to $1000s in damage.
What to do: When selecting your tenant you should be just as critical with their pets. If your potential tenant has an animal, screen them as well. Meet the pet at their current home. While you are there check for damage; take a quick look at door jams, carpet, and the yard. How that pet is in their current home is most likely how they will be in yours. This is also a great way to get a sneak peak as to how your tenant keeps their home.
If you decide to allow a pet, CHARGE A DEPOSIT!! Pet deposits range from almost nothing to $1000, depending on the home and potential damage/risk. You may also choose to charge a "pet rent." This is simply a monthly amount the tenant pays for having the pet, usually around $50 per month. Choose a deposit/rent that makes you, the home owner, comfortable. Most tenants will have no problem paying, especially if their pets are well behaved.
Something that may make your future decision easier is making your rental more "pet friendly". One way to do this is to install laminate floors instead of carpet next time it’s time to replace the carpets. Laminate floors come in many designs (the majority look like wood floors) that tenants really enjoy and are easier to clean than carpets. With carpets one pet accident or red wine spill can cost lots of money. Laminate floors allow you to just clean up the mess and move on.
Benefits: Many times the benefits are not considered for allowing pets but this could be a mistake. From experience we have found that responsible pet owners make for great tenants. They tend to pay on time and keep their home in good order. Also a tenant with pets will often stay longer as not everyone allows pets and it’s harder for them to find another home that will work for their family. Lastly, you may be able to get more rent either from a pet rent or just advertising for a little more and putting in your ad “pets allowed.”
No matter what you decide, you as the property owner have to be comfortable and understand the potential out come.
One of the toughest parts of owning rental property is finding a good tenant, and one of the biggest mistakes owners make is giving the keys to their investment to the first person with rent and a deposit.
First you need to consider what you are looking for in a tenant. Short term? Long term? ETC. Decide if you want a month to month term or a lease. Are you going to allow pets? Will you require a deposit? ( the answers to this is YES ) So, how much should the deposit be? I usually recommend close to one full months rent to start. After that pets, etc. are extra deposits.
When you find your "perfect tenant," have them sign a rental agreement and hold them to it. If you waiver from it and you end up in court, it could bite you in the @$$. Check up on them!! Give them a few days to get settled and drop by to " see how they have settled in." If you plan on entering the property you will need to give a 24 hour notice. After the first visit check in every 6 months. I see owners spend thousands on repairs that could have been prevented if the owner was involved. Remember tenants tend not to tell you about "little" problems.
What happens when you need to get your property back? Eviction can be time consuming and complicated. If you are not familiar with your state's evictions laws, consult someone who is. Make sure you follow the rules and don't lose your temper. Threats and yelling will only make things worse. Post your notices, and follow through with what you say you are going to do. Don't get caught up in a situation where you are evicting the same tenant every month.
If you are looking to a quality property manager try www.allpropertymanagement.com or if you are in Eugene or Medford, Oregon try Northwoods Property Management.
Northwoods Property Management offers a level of service rarely seen in the industry. Taking full advantage of technology to ensure that we are able to serve our clients needs 24/7. Whether you have a rental property and need our management services or you are a tenant looking for a new home we are here to serve you. Northwoods strives to create long term sustainable value for property owners and tenants’ alike, building relationships for mutual benefits.