Renovations

Charlotte Property Rental

If you have purchased or inherited an older building and mean to use it to rent out, there may be a couple of things that you need to do first. Unfortunately, not every home is move in ready, even if someone was living in it up until it came into your possession. This is often found when older residents had been the most recent owners, but it can happen with just about any building that you find. If this is something that you have run into, then you likely have to do quite a few renovations.

                  Renovations can be extremely scary and daunting. As an example, I know that the home I grew up in needs to be heavily renovated if I want to use it as a rental space. In fact, everything will need to be pulled out, the wiring throughout the house redone, and the extension fixed due to a sloppy job that was done before my parents purchased it. The house was built in the 1960’s during a housing boom in the area and this is a story that we hear time and again. Poor workmanship when the house or building was put up can cost you a large amount of money down the road, so you always want to make sure that you are ready for that possibility.

                  Even if you don’t have to strip a house down to the studs, something may still need to be done before a resident can move in. You may want to knock down a wall that has no purpose (just make sure it isn’t a supporting wall), or maybe you want to add an expansion to one of the corners of the house. After all, an extra bedroom or even just another bathroom can be a huge selling point for someone who is trying to start a family or has simply outgrown their one bathroom residence.

                  The main thing to remember when doing renovations is that it is okay if you don’t do everything yourself. Not everyone can be a master contractor and there’s nothing wrong with that. Just don’t cut any corners or it may end up being very unsafe for those who are going to move in, and by extension you. Call around and talk to some people for a little bit of help and you will be much better off.

Winter Weather

Charlotte Property Rental
Winter is my least favorite season. For some reason, the thought of all the snow and cold just ruins my mood, and having to shovel it just makes it worse. While I may not like the oppressive heat of summer, at least I don’t need to freeze my fingers off getting rid of inches upon inches of white, heavy stuff just to get around. It seems almost impossible to get through each new winter, and it is increasingly more dangerous the older we get. Thankfully, there are some things we can do to try and stay safe during this season.
One of the first things I will suggest if you are in charge of an apartment complex or building is to get a snow blower. It makes it infinitely easier to move the snow that has fallen to a different area and will reduce the time you need to spend outside significantly. This is especially good if you have a chronic disorder that is set off by lower temperatures or heavy amounts of moisture. It is also much better for your back than having to shovel, especially if it is wet and heavy and dense snow. That really is the absolute worst.
Another suggestion that I will make is to add a lip or barrier on the top of the roof or roofs of your building(s). Falling snow is a great danger and falling ice is even worse. I remember in university, they would have to block off around the buildings just so that kids wouldn’t be hit by the stuff falling off when it finally started to melt. Granted that didn’t help up much when part of the theater roof came in under the weight of a particularly bad snow storm, but there wasn’t much anyone could have done about that without having replaced the roof before the season started.
We suggest asking around and seeing what other property owners in your area have done to help keep their residents safe during the winter. Checking the stability of your roof is certainly something that will not go unappreciated. It is also always a good idea to check however the building gets heat. I’m sure we’ve all been in that situation. We hope that you have a safe winter and hope that it ends soon.

Holidays

Charlotte Property Rental
Around the holidays, many people feel the need or desire to help others. While this is often done through a donation to a toy or coat drive or volunteering at the local soup kitchen, these things may not be your calling. That’s perfectly fine, as no one should be forcing you to do anything you don’t want to. However, if you do want to offer your residents a little holiday present, here are some clever ideas that we have heard over the years.
1. Candy. Let’s face it, almost everyone loves candy of some form or another. We have seen all kinds of candy go to residents and it’s always a sweet idea. Some people buy their residents a box of chocolate, others buy them candy canes. Whatever the candy, it is always welcome.
2. Discount. Many landlords we know, especially if they have had the same renter for multiple years, will offer a discount for the rent in the month of December. One thing is for sure, we haven’t heard anyone complain about that yet!
3. Gift Cards. Some landlords that we know have given their residents small gift cards. These have ranged anywhere from prepaid visa cards that can be used almost everywhere to a simple slip of paper that you can get from a local diner that states how much money they have in credit. Residents are almost always thrilled about gift cards from local eateries because let’s face it, after you cook for your entire family, you don’t even want to look at the oven or the dishes again for weeks.
4. Toiletries. This one was relatively unique, but still a very cute idea. One landlord that we know of made snowmen out of rolls of toilet paper with toothbrushes for arms and a few bars of soap wrapped up in black paper for the hat. With extra visitors coming and going around this time, we’re sure people appreciated the spare toiletries to use!
There are hundreds of things that you could do to celebrate the holidays with your residents if you choose to do so. Even if none of these ideas strike your fancy, a quick search online could lend you more choices than any of us know what to do with. We hope you all have a wonderful season and stay safe throughout it.

Holiday Parking

Charlotte Property Rental
If your apartment complex is anything like the one that I live in, parking is a highly sought after commodity. Each apartment only receives one assigned parking spot and there is nowhere near enough parking for each person to have another spot. There are visitor spots, but they are extremely hard to find during the day and impossible at night. During the holidays they become even more difficult to come by and unfortunately there are no lots within walking distance which can be used. This often results in people parking in spots which are reserved for residents that have been vacated for whatever reason only to fuel dismay when the person returns back home.
One thing that you may want to do if parking is an issue on a normal day is release a letter to your residents gently reminding them that parking spaces are limited and residents have priority in reserved spots. The holidays often see family and friends coming to visit and this can result in an even worse scarcity of valid spots. Make sure that your residents know that double parking and parking in non-valid spots will not be tolerated during the season, especially if you are in an area that sees the need for snow removal often.
Another thing that you can do is offer a few numbers for towing companies. No one wants to be “that person” that gets someone else’s car towed during the holidays, but no one wants to be the person who can’t go home at night due to someone being in their spot either. It gets cold at night during this time of the year and I don’t know about you, but the thought of having to walk the better part of a mile due to someone taking a spot that isn’t theirs right in front of my door isn’t something that fills me with that warm feeling the holidays are supposed to bring.
Unfortunately, the holidays always bring a lot of stress to people. Parking at your own apartment shouldn’t be one of the reasons for this. Do your best to help out your residents when it comes to parking and hopefully everyone will get through this season with a smile on their face and some warmth inside and out.

Holiday Safety

Charlotte Property Rental
The holidays are meant to be a wonderful time of the year filled with love and friends and family. Unfortunately it is also full of dangers and things can change in an instant. Now I’m not trying to fear monger here, but the fact is that nearly 47,000 fires occur during the holiday season and that’s only one type of tragedy that can occur. This isn’t taking into account car accidents, weather related injuries, or burglaries that are also often higher during this time of the year. Thankfully there are a few things that you can do to help make sure that nothing takes down your holiday spirit.
One of the biggest problems during this time of the year is the concern of fires. Candle fires, for example, are four times more likely to occur during the holidays than any other time of the year. Having a tree can also be dangerous if it is allowed to dry out, as they quickly become fire hazards. It has been reported that one in every 22 fires that are started by trees result in at least one death. It doesn’t matter how much egg nog you’ve had, that is a sobering fact. Always make sure that you are using lights that are safe, that all candles are only burned when someone is watching them, and most importantly that all fire detectors are operable. Having a working smoke alarm cuts down the death rate due to fire almost by half.
Another thing that you can do to help keep yourself and your family safe during this season is by making sure that you have the right tires on your car. Having snow tires can make all of the difference in the world and will help make sure everyone gets home safe from traveling to grandma’s. While you are gone, make sure that nothing has been left that can overheat and that all candles have been put out. Also, it may be a good idea to keep your curtains closed so that people can’t see what presents you got to open.
From all of us here at Talley to all of you, we wish you the best holiday season. We hope to see you next year and will continue to do all we can for you and yours!

Critters

Charlotte Property Rental
During the colder months, most of us just want to stay inside. After all, it can get pretty miserable outside, especially at night. I don’t know about you, but if I had the option between outside and inside it wouldn’t even be a choice for me. I don’t even particularly like sleeping outside while it’s warm out. Unfortunately, I’m not the only one with this thought. Often, smaller critters will try and find their way indoors to protect themselves from the elements as well. I know that when I was younger this was about the time of the year that we would start seeing mice and other vermin in our basement. Depending on how long my father accidently left the garage door open, we may even find a raccoon or a few opossums as well.
While most apartment residents don’t often have this issue, at least as far as they know, a good amount of people who are renting houses do. This becomes more true the older the house is. Mice, squirrels, chipmunks, and other small creatures will tend to try and get inside to get away from the harsh cold that hits especially at night. If you have this issue you know that it’s more than just sharing a basement with a couple of tiny things with a tail. Often they will come into other parts of the house, leaving droppings and taking food. If this begins happening, it can quickly become an infestation that can take months and thousands of dollars to fix if not taken care of early.
There are tons of options that you have to prevent this in the first place, however. Some people use both humane and not so nice traps while others use homeopathic tricks to keep these critters outside. Others purchase small boxes that emit a frequency that is said to keep mice and bats away. Whatever your method, be sure to keep it out of the reach of children and pets just in case. Also remember, prevention is always the best way to deal with things like this. If you can keep these animals from getting in, you will have a much better winter than someone trying to get them back out. An exterminator is never a good person to have to call for the holidays.

Decorations

Charlotte Property Rental
During December, many people like to decorate their homes and apartments to reflect their specific religion. Even if someone doesn’t celebrate any of the holidays, they will sometimes decorate anyway simply because they think the lights are pretty. How many of us would beg our parents to drive us around just so we could look at the different houses that were decorated in our area? I know that was always one of my favorite things to do around this time of the year. However, if you own an apartment building or complex, you may have to set some parameters on decorations.
One of the eternal debates among people has always been whether you should take down the lights after the holidays or leave them up on the roof throughout the year without turning them on. While this is a decision that you can make if you own your own home without a homeowners association, it is a bit different in most housing complexes. As an example, my apartment complex allows decorations for two weeks before and two weeks after any specific holiday. It also does not allow lights to be left on overnight in the event that they may disrupt others trying to sleep. Lights that flash brightly are also not allowed for similar reasons. Most other decorations are not regulated as long as they are inside your own apartment.
Obviously you don’t want to dampen anyone’s holiday spirit, however there is a level of practicality that you need to balance when it comes to the limitations of decorations that you will allow on your rental property. This is especially true if you have an apartment building or a complex that houses multiple people. Bright lights may cause an issue for others trying to sleep and the sound of fans that run those inflatable characters can keep people awake if they aren’t used to the noise. Although they may be fun to have up, you need to make sure that everyone’s comfort is balanced with the holiday cheer.
If you don’t want to give out a protocol for holiday decorations, give a glance to some of them just to make sure that nothing goes against common sense. After all, the holidays can get a bit extravagant and we can all get carried away with the excitement of the season.

Leaf Removal

Charlotte Property Rental
Autumn is always such a lovely time for many areas of our country. The changing colors are a large draw for people, even causing the term “leaf peepers” to be coined up in New England. For all of the beauty that some people see when looking at these changed trees, others see nothing but a nuisance. Having all of those dead leaves laying around their lawns and driveways can be considered unsightly and when it rains they may even become dangerous. This is just another thing that you need to be aware of as a landlord, especially if maintenance falls to you instead of to your resident.
Leaf removal is one of the stickiest situations that you will find yourself in outside of snow. Most people don’t want leaves everywhere but dislike having a leaf blower running constantly. Naturally you won’t want to be outside by yourself with a rake gathering a huge pile, especially if you have a large property to deal with. This generally means that something with a motor is going to be your best bet in regards to getting all of the leaves and twigs together. So what can you do to keep everyone happy?
The best time to collect leaves for removal is at a time when most people are either at work or already awake. I can speak from experience that no one likes to be woken up at seven in the morning on a Saturday by a leaf blower. If you are able to do this yourself, it will obviously save some money but hiring a company to do this is perfectly fine as well. Having people come in during normal working hours will generally prevent much complaining from your residents.
Always be sure to check your township bylaws about leaf piles and removal. Some places have trucks come around to collect them while others have you purchase bags and deliver them to a certain location yourself. You always want to be sure to stay on top of these practices and remind your residents of what the law states as well. You may even want to try and have a work day where you offer food or refreshments in exchange for your residents helping out to clean up the leaves. Ask around and see if anyone would be willing to help out.

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