Now that the holidays are approaching, a lot of people are beginning to think about travel. If a person’s job allows, you will generally see people leave for at least four or five days in a row around this time of the year. This is a time to get to see family and get away from a lot of the stress that we have in our daily lives. Unfortunately, it is also a time when people can get swept up in the feeling of the season and forget little things that should be done before they leave. Here are some things to remind your residents of if they are leaving for an extended period of time. 1. Lock Your Doors And Windows. One of the biggest problems that we see around this time of the year is people breaking into homes. Always remind your residents to lock their apartment up tight no matter how long they will be gone, but especially if it is for more than a few hours. The last thing they, and you, want is to come back from a nice trip to find everything ransacked and things stolen. 2. Forward/Hold Mail. Depending on how long someone is going to be gone, you will want them to have their mail taken care of. One of the biggest tips that someone is not home is a buildup of mail and newspapers that are left outside. If they will be gone more than three days, they can submit a form online which allows the post office to hold their mail until they come back. If they will be gone for longer than 30 days, the local post office must be contacted. If your resident doesn’t want to hold their mail, always suggest having a trusted neighbor or friend come and pick it up instead. 3. Pets. If your resident has pets, make sure that there will either be someone coming to take care of them or that they are being placed in a kennel while they are away. It isn’t fair to you or the animal to be left alone for extended periods of time in the apartment. Sometimes with the hustle and bustle of the season, some things get forgotten. These are a few things that you should always make sure that your residents think of before they leave town.
One of the biggest things in any industry is knowing what your clients want. This is true of everything from cosmetology to high fashion and from cell phone design to high tech computer development. Even the most random thing that you can think of needs to keep an eye on trends to be able to effectively sell their product. Housing and apartments are no different in the grand scheme of things. Even if you are renting, you need to realize that you are technically selling someone on the idea of temporarily buying your home. As such, you need to keep up with all of the current trends as well. Housing goes through a lot of trends in a very short amount of time. Think back to the 1970s when wallpaper was still all the rage. Can you picture the kitchen of a 1970’s home? There was often wallpaper even on the ceiling and it was generally brown and very busy. Many people would say that we “thankfully” got out of that phase in home decorating, but now wallpaper is making a comeback. While we most likely won’t see the same designs again, there is something to be said for the fact that more and more people are looking to cover their walls in something other than paint. Keeping an eye on these trends is something that every property owner who is looking to rent really needs to do. While some people may be fine living in an area that hasn’t been updated in a while as long as it is sturdy, cosmetic differences can cause others to want to look elsewhere. If even an old coat of paint can discourage some people from moving into an apartment, imagine what it would do to them if nothing has changed in over 40 years. The good thing is that most of these trends are simply cosmetic. It may take a little bit of time and money to fix your rental property up, but at least most trends don’t require you to tear half of your home apart before renting it back out. It is also worth saying that what goes around comes around and you never know quite what will come back. Who knows, maybe those pink and blue bathroom tiles from the 1960s will come back into style next.
October is generally known as a bit of a down month. You are coming out of the summer months when there is so much more to do outside and yet you haven’t really hit the time where you are starting to think about Thanksgiving and all of the holidays at the end of the year. For many people, October is just a stretch of time where we have to wait until the more popular holidays occur. However there are plenty of things to do during this month. If you like to plan activities for people in your apartment complex, here are some ideas for you to have for those gatherings. 1. Pumpkin Carving. I don’t know about you, but for me there are few things as fun to do when the weather turns colder than carving out a pumpkin. A group of friends and I normally like to get together and paint or carve our pumpkins out. This can be a great time for a group of residents, especially if they have smaller children. 2. Apple Picking. If you like to have a group get out of the house, then apple picking is generally the way to go. Post fliers saying what you are planning to do and the date and ask people to RSVP so that you can get a head count. Most places will offer you a group discounted rate if you call ahead with a certain number. You may even be able to find a place that does hay rides and corn mazes for people who may not be large fans of apples. 3. Decorating. In almost any group, you will find at least one person who likes to decorate places for different holidays. You may be able to have a group of people help you decorate common areas of the complex if you provide food and drinks as well. There are dozens of things to do with groups in the fall and these are only three of the most popular ones. You can always post suggestion fliers around as well to see what your residents would be interested in doing during October, if anything. Sometimes it’s good to just take a month and relax before a busy time like the holiday season. See what works for your complex and let us know what you think the best activities are.
One of the most common issues that we hear about in property ownership and rentals is noise. When you have a large group of people all living together, there are bound to be problems between residents. Unfortunately, some of the most difficult things to resolve are also the most common. Different people have different ideas of what “excessive noise” really is, and most of us have experience with this as well. Driving down the road you can see a perfect example of what we mean. If you are stopped at a light and can hear the music clearly from another car, you will probably also see someone else giving that car a dirty look. The difference between acceptable noise levels and excessive ones can be thin, but it is always noticeable. Many towns have laws which explain what it means to have excessive noise. For example, my hometown had a regulation which stated that if you could hear the noise from twenty five feet away you could be cited on that infraction if it was at a residential property. While it was rare for the police to write someone a ticket for that, it did happen every now and then. If you are unsure how to regulate noise such as music or television program volume, this may be a good place for you to start. Having a large building with multiple people living in it may cause some complications with this issue. It is always more difficult when people are living in close quarters to keep quiet to everyone else’s preference. Not only do different people have different ideas of what volume is acceptable, but the discussion of white noise versus silence is always one that causes problems. Handling noise complaints is always a touchy problem as a landlord. The fact is that you normally don’t live in the area where the issue is occurring so you can’t always provide an acceptable answer. Sometimes the best you can do is suggest some carpets and earplugs. However it is always important, as with any complaint, to listen to both sides of the issue. At times it is better if you can provide an unbiased opinion and this may just be one of them. Ask other people in the area to see if it really is a widespread problem as well. You never know if others just didn’t want to lodge a complaint.
People always ask us what we think the best time of year to move is. This is always a difficult question for us to answer, as there is no one correct answer. After all, there are so many different circumstances for each person and each season that what works best for one person may not work at all for the next. However, since we have started the season of fall, let’s talk about how moving around this time of the year can be beneficial. After all, there are a lot of reasons why the fall is the best time of the year! One of the first things that we always like to mention in regards to moving is how common it is during each season. Most people move during the summer. This is due to things like kids changing schools and the weather being much nicer for moving. Moving days often require quite a bit of time outside and I’m not sure anyone enjoys having a wet mattress to sleep in for their first night in their new home, so the balance of nice days versus wet ones in the summer often seems to be relatively safe. However, that also means that there are more people competing for the rental units that are open during the summer. Landlords will have more choices and it therefore may be more difficult to get something locked down during those warm months. Once the weather cools off a bit, things tend to slow down so you might have a better chance starting in October. Speaking of the weather, the cooler temperatures can be beneficial when you are moving. Let’s face it, moving around heavy furniture is hard work. You sweat a lot when you’re moving stuff like that and if it’s in the heat of summer you may need to be careful of dehydration and heat related illnesses. While you still need to be careful in regards to overworking yourself and anyone helping you, it is normally a bit better when the ambient temperatures are lower. While each season has some benefits in regards to moving, each one also has their own drawbacks. It is important to weigh your options when you are able to and make an informed decision about moving. Give us a call and see how much of a difference relying on Talley can make when you’re getting ready for a change.
One of the least enjoyable parts about being a landlord is dealing with the complaints that are bound to happen from your tenants. While sometimes these complaints are completely understandable, others are a bit ridiculous, especially if you have an apartment building or complex where people can talk and spread false stories. The complex in which I live is currently experiencing this very thing. There are a couple of things that you can do to help relax people when they begin to complain about inconsequential or untrue things. Here are some of the things that you may want to try. 1. Call A Meeting. If there are enough complaints about a certain thing, you may want to have a meeting in which your residents can explain their issues with how things are going. While this normally is not a pleasant experience for you, often times it will help because your residents will feel like their voices have been heard and they can go back to what they normally do. Very often, people complain in groups not because there is a serious issue that needs to be addressed, but because when humans start talking false accusations start to fly. While this is not meant to belittle any true problems that your residents may have, sometimes a meeting is all that you need to help them move on from whatever is bothering them at the current time. 2. Explain The Truth. Depending on the complaint, there may be people who get farther and farther away from the truth. Whether they mean to cause drama or are simply misinformed is something that must be addressed on a case by case basis, but the end result always needs to be the same. Your residents need to know the truth. Sometimes the truth is not what you would want to hear, but it is always better to be open with the people who are living in your rental space than hiding things from them or letting them continue to think certain things are true when they aren’t. These are two simple things that you can do when a renter complains. While they may seem obvious, it can be overwhelming when a bunch of people are complaining about something that you may have no control over. Stay tuned for some other ways to deal with people who complain in these situations.
One of the things that drives me crazy about apartment listings is a lack of pictures. Now that most listings are online, there is no reason for you to not at least attempt to snap a couple of pictures with your cell phone and upload them onto the website. Many of us use these pictures to decide if we want to go and see the apartment in person or not. In fact, many websites now have an option on the side where people can filter what they want in an apartment to only show ones that have pictures. If you have a lovely apartment, why would you not want to show it off? One of the most important things to remember about taking pictures of your apartment is to make it look like the apartment actually does. When I was looking for my first apartment, I had found a listing online that looked wonderful so I went to see it. It turns out that the pictures were from a different building and the apartment was a disaster with exposed wiring and holes in the floor. This is actually false advertising and may be considered illegal. Always be sure to only post pictures of the actual apartment that you are renting out. Lighting is everything in photography. Even if you know nothing about taking a good picture, letting in natural light will only ever help you. If the apartment does not have a large amount of natural light, then be sure to take pictures with plenty of lamps to help make that difference. People want to be able to see what their place will look like and that just can’t happen if there is no light. Do your best to make sure that your hands aren’t shaking when you take the photo as well. Blurry pictures are sometimes worse than no pictures simply because it can be aggravating knowing that the poster could not take the time to take a good picture. If your hands shake, there is nothing wrong with asking someone else to help you. You may also want to use something else to brace yourself against something to prevent excessive movement. Posting pictures will only ever help you in the search for your perfect tenant. Take a day or so to make up some great images to post online to go with your lovely property.
One of the most difficult things that you need to do as a rental property owner is get people to fill that rental property. It can take ages to find just the right person to get into your empty apartment and that just is not any good. You want to be able to move seamlessly from one tenant to the next, but this is something that almost never happens. There are a couple of things that you can do to make it a little easier on yourself, though. Here are some of the ideas that we have used to make sure that you are always receiving income from the rental area. 1. Month to Month Renting. Although this is not as reliable as a full lease, renting to someone from month to month is something that has its benefits. Recently while looking at apartment listings I saw one which was designed as an apartment that you could only stay in for a month or two. It requested that you be ready to move out again at the end of the month and is meant to be used as a temporary location until you find more permanent lodgings. This is something that you may be interested in doing at least for a month or two while you look for a good and solid tenant. 2. Cut A Friend A Break. Some people offer their empty apartments to a friend while they are looking for someone to stay there long term. This is mutually beneficial as it means the apartment is not empty and you may be getting at least some rent while your friend has a place to live. Sometimes this is used for those who have just gotten out of school or need a place to stay during the summer. I have also seen it done for new parents that sometimes need some time away while someone else babysits. It is less expensive than a hotel if you let them use it a couple of days out of the month and again at least you know the place isn’t always empty. There are many ways that you can get someone into your empty apartment even if it is only very short term. Let us know some of the methods that you have used before and maybe we will pass them onto others so we can all learn!