Tips to Stage Your Home for Prospective Tenants

Congratulations on deciding to turn into a landlord! This could be one of the best decisions you have ever made. However, before you can enjoy a monthly income in the form of rent, you first have to make sure prospective tenants view your property favorably and accept the rent you are seeking. This requires staging your home and laying more emphasis on the positives and unique features while downplaying the negatives.


Staging Your Home


Here are some important aspects of staging your home that you should never neglect.



·      Mow and trim: If you have a garden, boost curb appeal by mowing the grass and trimming shrubs and plants to give your garden a neat and organized appearance. Replace broken pots and place a few flowering plants at the entrance.

·      Fix and repair: Anything that is broken or worn out should be fixed or repaired. Pay special attention to faucets, showers, and light fixtures. You may also want to slap on a coat of fresh paint on the patio or porch if the paint is chipping.

·      De-clutter and neaten: Your home should be like an empty canvas where prospective tenants can paint their own picture. So, get rid of the clutter. It also will make your home appear bigger and more spacious. Neaten those closets and if necessary get rid of some clothing to make closets appear bigger.

·      Clean and mop: This may seem obvious, but many property management companies will tell you prospective landlords, especially first-time landlords, forget about cleaning their homes. So, use a bit of elbow grease and clean the floors, kitchen and bathroom. Dust windows, door frames, and walls. If you have a carpet, vacuum it thoroughly and ensure it is odor-free.

·      Paint and neutralize: Most tenants don’t really care for bright and vibrant wall colors. So, if your home has bright wall colors, you may want to repaint the walls in neutral colors. This allows tenants to visualize the home more clearly.



For many new landlords, staging a home can be tedious, and overwhelming. However, a home that comes across as well-cared for has higher chances of finding a renter.



If you think you can’t handle the pressure of staging your home, hire the services of a dedicated and terrific property management company that will handle all aspects of the staging and also run a background and credit check on the tenants, so that you have peace of mind and can be a stellar and suitable landlord. The company also can collect payments and handle any tenant complaint or issues.

3 Simple Home Improvement Tasks to Attract the Right Tenant

Find and retaining fantastic tenants has become imperative in the current economic environment. The right tenants will ensure a steady stream of income. While a property management company can help you in this endeavor, as a landlord, you also have certain responsibilities to ensure your property attracts the right tenant.



Of course, the location of your rental property is important. But that will get just so far. Thereafter, it all depends on what your property can offer prospective tenants. Here are 3 simple yet often forgotten home improvements that you can do to attract the right kind of tenants.



1. Enhance Curb Appeal



One of the best ways to boost the curb appeal of your rental property is to make the yard look magnificent. So, get out that lawn mower and mow the overgrown grass. Plant vibrantly colored flowers along the walkway and also make sure you, the trees, bushes, and shrubs are pruned to look neat and kempt.



You also can improve the curb appeal of your home by slapping a fresh coat of paint on the exterior of the property, changing the mailbox, and patching up the driveway to look welcoming and inviting.



2. Stage the Interior



This is a property for rent. So, the last thing a prospective tenant wants to see is your personal clutter and items. What you don’t need, get rid of it. The rest should go to long-term storage. Remember when tenants come to inspect your property, it should be like a blank slate on which they can draw and make plans. With distractions and clutter out of the way, tenants will be in a better position to envisage how it would be to live in the property.



3. Scrub those Floors



One of the first things prospective tenants will notice is the flooring. So make sure flooring in the house is clean. Hire a cleaning company to dust, vacuum, and mop the floor, so that it shines and sparkles. Professional cleaning companies know exactly what kind of floor cleaner to use for different types of flooring. If you can’t do it, ask your property management company to get the floor spotless. Make sure the carpet is deep cleansed to get rid of dirt and germs. Also, this will make the carpet smell fresh and clean.



It is crucial you work with the property management company to stage your home in an attractive manner for tenants. And these three tips will go a long way in ensuring that.

Tips to Make Your Investment Property More Attractive to Tenants

With the economy still struggling to get back on its feet, many people are turning to property investment to enjoy better returns than what banks have to offer. As a first time landlord, it is important you choose the right kind of property to invest in and also take the right measures to make the property attractive to the average tenant.



The Right Kind of Property



Property investors often invest in apartments rather than homes as they tend to perform better in the rental market. However, this trend is gradually changing and tenants are looking for different types of property. Your decision to invest should be based on the prevailing trends in the local property market.



Remember your choice of investment property should not be based on the kind you want to live in. Rather the property you select should have low maintenance and broad appeal.



Location is the Key



You will often hear location can make or break an investment property. This is a fact. So, research the local property market and press the button for the location that offers the highest returns and is in high demand. Besides this, you should also take into account the local amenities. They should be located in the vicinity of the property. For instance, your property will be in high demand among families if it is located near a school, hospital, and grocery store. Also, properties near railway stations are often highly coveted by professionals who use the train to commute to work.



Décor to Win Over Tenants



Don’t clutter up the property with things you like. Most tenants yearn for spacious living spaces that they can transform into their own. Keep décor neutral, so that tenants can visualize living in your property without being overpowered by your presence. Paint walls in neutral colors, stay away from bold and vibrant window dressing and ensure the cabinetry is stylish without being ostentatious.



Amenities



Tenants long for certain amenities such as a washing machine, dishwasher, microwave, espresso maker, and array of cooking utensils. Make sure you install energy saving appliances and gadgets. Prospective tenants want state-of-the-art appliances and gadgets and often give preference to properties that have them. Also, make sure you get those lighting fixtures right. A home should be warm and inviting when the lights are turned on. So, change those lights and install CFL and LED lights to set the mood and also help your tenants save money on their electricity bills.



If you can’t handle your property and make it attractive for tenants, join forces with a reliable and reputable property management company. The company will prep your property for rent and also help ensure you get the right kind of tenants. Basically, the property management company will handle all aspects of your investment property – maintenance, upkeep, handling tenant complaints, and collecting rent.









A Foolproof System to Choose a Property Management Company

Thinking of getting into the landlord business? Apart from a home to-let, you’ll also need a property management company. These middlemen will serve as your connection with potential tenants.

Life as a landlord is much easier with someone else doing the legwork and taking care of most of the tedious work. But if you simply pick a management company at random, you’ll be dealing with more problems than you would be on your own.

To avoid making the wrong choices when choosing a property management company, follow these simple guidelines.

Take a look at the company history

If a company has been in business for a long time, it must be doing something right. Most likely it did not receive a bailout like GM did! Moreover, by reading through the company’s history, you can see whether it has maintained its reliability over the course of its existence. Most management companies that have been in business for a number of years are known to be reliable and professional.

Conduct an interview

When you get in touch with a property management company, you need to ask them about the services they perform and how they can help you. Ask questions regarding:

·      The properties they deal in

·      How long they’ve been dealing in these kinds of property

·      Will your property meet the criteria?

·      Their level of commitment to the property

·      Employees experience

·      Their procedure

·      Service charges

Cost of services

Prices will fluctuate based on the range of services a company provides. If the price is high, make sure you get your money’s worth. And if the price is low, find out what services are missing. Also, remember there will be fees attached to the package you open the door to. These fees need to be mentioned in the contract between you and the management company.

Test customer service

Call up the companies you’ve shortlisted so far and pay close attention to how customer service deals with you. The attitude they use with you will be the same when it comes to tenants. You definitely do not want to associate with a company that isn’t capable of communicating decently with customers. Check for the following when you call each company:

·      Promptness

·      Politeness

·      Helpfulness

·      Easy to understand them

·      Other communication difficulties

Try your best to get your list of potential property management companies based on references from friends, family, neighbors, or coworkers. There is a chance they may not know a company in this field so you will have to do your own research in this regard. Also, when you call up the company, ask for a couple of references. Make sure you follow through on these references. Now, based on the information you’ve gathered, you will be able to make a decision you can live with.

4 Easy Ways to Beautify Your Home

Irrespective of whether or not you own the home you’re living in, you do have the right to make it look appealing. Your home should be an oasis, a place that makes you feel calm. The moment you walk through the doors, you need to feel relaxed and able to unwind. If one look at the interiors of your home makes you want to run the other way, it’s about time you made some changes around the place.

1. Fix what’s broken

You don’t want to live in a home that has broken and dysfunctional components. Maybe the light bulbs have blown out, the faucets are leaky, your door frames are broken, the gate hinges are squeaky or the appliances don’t really function like they should. Mend and repair the things that are broken and replace the things that cannot be fixed. Ask your landlord to look into the matter, and if you can do it yourself, even better!

2. Clean up time

Sometimes all you need to make your home dazzle is to give it a decent cleaning. Dusting, mopping, vacuuming, and sweeping (or raking leaves) are simple ways to keep the interiors and exterior of your home from looking drab and dull. Remember regular cleaning will cost you next to nothing. Plus, you don’t have to do it all on your own. Get the whole family to pitch in. Make the process fun too, like a game where you score points. This way the kids won’t see it as a chore.

3. Paint the place

If it’s been years since you painted the place, there’s no harm in changing things by adding new coats of paint. But if the paint on your walls is chipping and peeling off or simply looks unappealing, don’t hold back go ahead and paint away! Fresh paint makes a world of difference; it adds brightness to a room and makes it look clean and neat. It doesn’t have to be the entire house, you can just paint one wall to create an emphasis or distract people from gazing at the not-so-appealing aspects of the room.

4. Add some greenery

There’s nothing more appealing to the eye than lovely thriving greenery! You can improve the appearance of your home by adding new plants to your yard or place potted specimens on your deck or patio. Potted plants look amazing inside the house too. Why stop there? You can even get a moss canvas to decorate your walls. It requires zero maintenance and looks absolutely spectacular on bare walls.

It’s usually the simplest of things that make our homes feel and look homey. And with a busy schedule it’s quite easy to forget about these basic aspects!

Talley Properties is the one stop property management service for novice and experienced homeowners. Whether you want to find the right tenant or you are looking for maintenance service to protect your investment, you can rely on Talley Properties.

Horrendous Mistakes to make while Filling up Vacancies

Finding tenants is in itself a challenging task sometimes, and finding loyal and respectful ones is even more difficult. However, it is worth the effort, since property management will not have to deal with property damage, late rent, and/or criminal activities.

Having a thorough screening procedure is the only way; you can avoid renting the property to problematic tenants. Even though this is a vital step, many aspects of it are often overlooked due to various reasons. Here are some of the worst mistakes that you can avoid while trying to fill up vacancies on your property.

Compromising on a Detailed Background Check or not Running One

According to studies done by experts, it is quite clear that when someone is committing vandalism, theft, fraud, or any other crime; they are not going to stop suddenly. Such a person will continue doing it, and therefore it is so important to conduct a detailed background check on prospective tenants. A nationwide pedophile and criminal search is necessary and you need to cover your bases. You do not want to be derelict in your duties as a property manager.

There have been instances where property managers have been influenced by the story of a tenant who has fallen on hard times or has been unfortunate. However, that should not stop you from running a background check, since being a victim of misfortune is one thing and having a criminal mind is entirely different. If the background check reveals repeated criminal offenses, then you cannot give in to such a person just because he is a victim of unfortunate circumstances.

Not Verifying Rental History

The person might not have any criminal record but could be a serial defaulter in rent payments. He could still be owing money to the property owner, where he stayed last, or he could have lost the security deposit due to extensive damages caused to the unit.

Rental history for the past couple of years will reveal a lot about the person, and this could be accomplished by a simple phone call or searching a database. However, there are instances where the person might not have had his or her name on previous leases, which in itself is a red flag.

Not Checking Employment History

Almost all tenants use their monthly earnings to pay the rent, and finding a tenant having a trust fund is extremely rare. Therefore, your chances of getting the rent on time will be directly influenced by the person's employment.

Check to see if the person has been holding a steady job for the past couple of years. Secondly, the person's present job should provide an income that is three to four times the rent. If the tenant has a shaky employment history, ask for an official letter from the company to verify his transfer to the area you are in.    

Not Running a Credit Check

Credit check will reveal whether the person is in credit card debt, and if he has a habit of defaulting on payments. A person might be earning three to four times the rent amount, but if he has a huge credit card debt, it will be difficult for him to pay the rent. It is also indicates financial irresponsibility.

Tips for Maintaining Heating Units and Furnaces

Heating units and furnaces should be maintained to prolong their life and reduce energy consumption. With the heating season set to begin in fall, you need to schedule a regular maintenance check of your furnace by a HVAC specialist. The specialist will check your furnace and heating unit visually and clean blowers and other components.

The technician will inspect the furnace for signs of dust, debris, wear and tear of moving parts, heck the heat exchanger for rust and cracks, inspect the burners, and tighten the wires. The technician will check the furnace for minor issues and fix them before they develop into major ones. As debris and dirt can cause friction and damage vital components of the furnace, the technician will clean these parts. They will also lubricate the motor to ensure less friction and longer life for the motor.

You can also ask the technician who comes to check the furnace to inspect the ductwork. This will help spot leaks from cracks, holes, and gaps in the duct work. A properly sealed and insulated ductwork will deliver the heat to where it is required and reduce energy consumption. If heat is lost from the duct work, the unit will have to work more, consuming more energy and undergoing more wear and tear.

Changing Air Filters

While an annual inspection of the furnace by profession technicians will get it ready for the cooler months of the year, you need to change the filers at least once a month. A dirty filer can clog the airways and make the unit work harder. Apart from the greater energy consumption, blocked filers can also lead to uneven heating of rooms. Depending on the type of filter you are using, you need to either change them or wash them before reusing them.

Program the Thermostat

At the beginning of the heating season, program the thermostat to keep the home warm when you are in and cooler when you are away. This will help reduce energy bills without reducing your comfort.

Keep Vents Clear

Another way of ensuring optimal use of the furnace or heating unit is to ensure that the vents are not blocked by drapes, furniture, or other obstacles. Check all vents to ensure that free flow of air is possible.

Scheduling a furnace inspection before the heating season begins can help ensure that you stay warm throughout the fall and winter months without having to worry about unusually high energy bills or sudden breakdown of the heating system.

New Year’s Celebration: Ways to Spot an Impaired Driver

New Year’s definitely a time for celebration. We leave behind the old and make way for the new. New Year’s celebration is a time to drink, eat and be merry in the company of your loved ones and friends. Unfortunately, it is also the time when impaired drivers, who have been celebrating and bringing in the New Year’s also hit the road. Such drivers endanger themselves and others, both drivers and pedestrians.
So, take it upon yourself to spot an impaired driver during New Year’s and do your civic duty by informing authorities. You could be saving the driver’s life and someone else’s by doing this.

Tips to Spot a Drunk Driver

There are many ways to spot an impaired driver because they tend to drive erratically and never follow traffic rules. Here are some of the signs that the person sitting behind the wheel has had one too many drinks and is unfit to drive.

·      A drunk driver tends to straddle the lane marker or center lane while driving. This is because their vision and senses are completely addled and they believe driving in this manner will keep them safe.

·      Alcohol and illicit drugs impair your judgment abilities. A person who is impaired will not be able to gauge distances accurately. This is the reason he will almost strike another vehicle or object while driving in this condition.

·      Another sign of an impaired driver is taking extremely wide turns. Once again this is due to impaired judgment and the driver is unable to handle the wheel deftly in an inebriated state.

·      Driving on the wrong side of the road is a classic sign of an impaired driver. With their senses impaired, drunk drivers are unable to follow traffic rules and want to take the shortest route home and if this means driving on the wrong side of the road, so be it!

·      Weaving from one side to the other is another sign of a drunk driver. Since alcohol (illicit drugs) has impaired the person’s balance and stability, he will not be able to drive straight. This will him lurch the vehicle from one side to the other.

·      There are some impaired drivers, who know they are wrong to get behind the wheel in their state. These drivers take speed to a different level. No, we are not talking about speeding. Rather, they will go to the other extreme and drive very slowly, about 10 mph.

·      Erratic braking is another sign of a drunk driver. So beware. Such a driver will invariably stop at a green signal or crosswalk even if there are no pedestrians waiting to cross.

·      Impaired drivers forget the basic rules of driving. So, if you spot a vehicle without headlights, it could be a drunk driver.
What to do?
If you spot a drunk driver, don’t try and stop or overtake him. Instead, maintain a lot of distance between him and you, as you will never know what he will do. Such drivers tend to stop without a warning. Call the local authorities and report the driver to them. You will be doing yourself, other drivers, and the impaired driver a big service. If every person becomes responsible and reports drunk drivers, we will all be able to have a happy and fun New Year’s celebration!

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